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November 2, 2010 > County residents save using prescription drug discount program

County residents save using prescription drug discount program

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Marina Hinestrosa

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has extended a prescription drug program that reduces the cost of medicines. Since the county launched the National Association of Counties (NACo) Prescription Drug Discount Program last November, residents have purchased more than 3,000 prescriptions and saved more than $48,000.

"The savings are immediate for consumers who take advantage of this service," said Supervisor Liz Kniss, Chairperson of the Board's Health and Hospital Committee and a champion of the prescription discount program. "Particularly for those with chronic health issues and no prescription coverage, any dollar saved will directly benefit their physical and financial health."

With the use of one card, the NACo drug discount card program helps consumers save money on their prescription medications when they do not have health insurance or their own insurance does not cover their prescriptions.

"More than ever, programs like this make sense. With just a small investment from the county, residents get access to big savings," said Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager. "This is a proven program that helps residents fill gaps in their healthcare coverage."

As a sponsor, Santa Clara County established a phone line where residents without Internet access can request a discount card by mail. Since November 2009, the County has distributed more than 16,000 discount cards. In light of the savings achieved by participants during the first six months of the program, it is clear additional enrollment could yield considerable savings for more county residents.

"In tough times like these," said Supervisor Don Gage, District 1, "families need all the help they can get to make ends meet. This is especially true with the high cost of medications."

"This partnership with NACo proves how we can offer valuable resources without incurring additional costs to taxpayers," added County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. "This program makes a difference in the lives of many residents without health insurance or prescription coverage. We invite everyone to participate."

The Santa Clara County/NACo Prescription Discount Program is not a health insurance. The discounts only apply to prescriptions not covered by health insurance. Those who have insurance may use the card for medicines their insurance does not cover. They can also be used for pet medications.

Everyone living in Santa Clara County is eligible to enroll and benefit from this program for free. There are no claim forms to complete or annual fees to pay. No age requirements or use limitations are imposed on individuals or families. Residents could save an average of 22 percent of the pharmacy's regular price on commonly prescribed prescriptions and an average of 50 percent on 90-day supplies of select generics through mail service.

More than 59,000 pharmacies participate nationwide in the NACo Drug Prescription program and over 200 are located in Santa Clara County. County residents can print out their discount cards by following the links at www.sccgov.org/prescriptions or call toll-free at 1-877-321-2652 for assistance. Cards are also available at county libraries, Social Service Agency headquarters and the County Government Center.

For more information about NACo, visit www.naco.org. For additional information about the discount card program, visit www.caremark.com/naco.

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