COUNTY OFFERS FREE DISCOUNT-DRUG CARDS BEGINNING MARCH 11

COUNTY OFFERS FREE DISCOUNT-DRUG CARDS BEGINNING MARCH 11

Beginning next week, Doña Ana County will implement a discount-card program to help consumers cope with the high price of prescription drugs. The county has signed a contract to make prescription drug-discount cards available at no cost under a program sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) that offers average savings of 20 percent off the retail price of commonly prescribed drugs.

The cards, which will be available beginning March 11, may be used by any county resident, regardless of age, income, or existing health coverage. A formal announcement of the program will be made at the March 11 meeting of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners.

“The NACo prescription discount card will offer significant savings for the uninsured and underinsured residents of our county, and even those fortunate to have prescription coverage may use the card to save money on drugs that are not covered by their health plans,” said Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department Director Silvia Sierra. “Residents do not have to be Medicare beneficiaries to be eligible for this program.”

The cards – administered by Caremark Rx, Inc. – carry no cost to county taxpayers or NACo. Most pharmacies will accept the NACo card, and a national network of more than 59,000 participating retail pharmacies also will honor it.

“Using the NACo prescription discount card is easy,” Sierra said. “A cardholder will simply present it at a participating pharmacy. There is no enrollment form, no membership fee and no restriction or limitation on frequency of use. Cardholders and their family members may use the card any time their prescriptions are not covered by insurance.”

NACo PRESCRIPTION DISCOUNT-CARD PROGRAM FACTS

What It Is: The NACo drug discount card program helps consumers save money on their prescription medications any time their prescriptions are not covered by insurance. The free cards are distributed in the sponsoring county and may be used at any participating retail pharmacy. The discount card is not insurance.

Savings: Savings average 20 percent; some discounts may be more, and some less, depending on the drug and quantity purchased. Cardholders are eligible for higher discounts on a three-month supply of some medications through mail service. Cardholders also can save on pet prescriptions at participating retail pharmacies.

Who It’s For: The cards may be used by all county residents, regardless of age, income or existing health coverage. There is no enrollment form, no membership fee and no restrictions or limits on frequency of use. Cardholders and their family members may use the card any time their prescriptions are not covered by insurance.

What It Costs: Unlike many other card programs, there is no enrollment cost or membership fee. The cardholder pays the negotiated discount price or the pharmacy’s retail price, whichever is lower. The average discount is 20 percent.

Participating Pharmacies: More than 59,000 pharmacies nationwide accept the card, including most chain pharmacies and many independents. Wal-Mart pharmacies participate in the program.

Additional Benefits: The program has a safety feature that alerts pharmacists when one drug may conflict with
another medication the cardholder is taking, if the prescriptions were obtained with the NACo discount card. The NACo discount card program remains a useful option now that Medicare Part D has been implemented. For example, the card can be used when a Medicare Part D plan doesn’t cover a drug.

About Caremark: The program is administered by Caremark Rx, Inc., a leading pharmaceutical services company
with broad experience in managing drug discount card programs for sponsoring clients. Caremark negotiates with pharmacies to offer a discount off their retail prices. Most pharmacies contract to participate because it draws customers to their stores. Caremark derives revenue from the program in the form of a small fee that the pharmacy pays on each transaction. The fee is a small fraction of the total transaction amount.
Discount Rebates: Few manufacturers pay rebates on the discount card program. Caremark shares a portion of the rebate with the consumer at the point of sale via an increased discount. The retail pharmacy is reimbursed for this additional discount.
Data Collection: Cardholder information remains confidential and is not resold to a third-party for any reason.
Drug Distribution: Caremark negotiates with retail pharmacies to offer discounts off retail prices at the point of purchase. Some news reports have incorrectly stated that Caremark purchases prescription drugs and distributes them to retail pharmacies.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.