Discount card offers savings on prescription drugs

By Carol Higgins-Taylor, Special to the BDN
Posted July 30, 2013, at 2:47 p.m.

I dare say not one of us would mind saving money at the drugstore. Here’s a great way to do that. The Penobscot County Prescription Discount Card is still available and could be just the thing to keep money in your wallet instead of in the cash register.

The Penobscot County Commissioners teamed up with the National Association of Counties, (NACo) to take advantage of educational and financial benefits that would be helpful to all those who live or work in Penobscot County. And what could be more helpful than saving money on prescriptions?

“Residents have saved thousands of dollars over the last 12 months with a monthly average of 75 people using the card,” said Barbara Veilleux, Penobscot County employee and a member of the Health Advisory Council, which reviews all types of health related issues for the county. “Just imagine how much could be saved if more people took advantage of this program.”

It seems participant numbers may be a bit low, which frankly is strange since this is a free card and an opportunity to save money at the pharmacy. You’d think people would be clamoring for one.

But for those who have one, the savings can be impressive. The NACo website quotes an average savings of 24 percent, however Penobscot County residents have actually saved more.  You, too, could be part of that statistic.

The card is free to everyone who is a Penobscot County resident or who lives in another county but works in Penobscot and is geared toward the uninsured or underinsured. While, it cannot be used to cover co-pays for medications purchased under a health insurance plan, it may be used to get a discount on medications that are not covered by insurance.

The card also could be helpful to seniors who are not yet eligible for Medicare benefits. And on a very positive note, it may be used to discount medications for pets, provided the prescription is filled in a pharmacy and not at the vet’s office.

“The program has a safety feature that alerts pharmacists when one medication may have an interaction with another medication the cardholder is taking, if the prescriptions were obtained with the NACo Prescription Discount Card,” according to a National Association of Counties Fact Sheet. “The NACo Prescription Discount Card program is a useful option with Medicare Part D. For example, the card can be used when a Medicare Part D plan doesn’t cover a medication.”

So, how do you get one of your own?

“Getting a card is very easy,” said Veilleux. “Just visit the NACo website at caremark.com/naco and print your own card. They are also available at the county office here at 97 Hammond Street in Bangor.”

Adults with disabilities or homebound individuals without Internet access can call Veilleux at 942-8566 and she will mail them a card.

Let’s break this down because this is a chance of a lifetime:

• The card is free and has no fee, premium or enrollment. Remember this is a prescription discount card, not an insurance card.

• There is no age or income requirement.

• There is no limit on the number of times the card may be used and only one card is needed per family.

There are no “strings” attached so there is nothing to lose by trying out the card the next time you fill a prescription. The cards are easy to obtain and easy to use so visit the website or call Veilleux and start saving money today. Cards are also available at Eastern Area Agency on Aging.

 Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, email info@eaaa.org or go to EAAA.org.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/30/health/discount-card-offers-savings-on-prescription-drugs/ printed on November 27, 2014