SNOW HILL – A free prescription drug discount card is coming to Worcester County, staff revealed this week at the County Commissioners meeting.
“The county is in the process of having that plan ready for commissioner approval,” said Worcester County Chief Administrator Gerry Mason on Tuesday.
The card, like the one recently introduced in Sussex County, will be free to any Worcester County citizen. There’s no enrollment, no forms to fill out, no physical, just a free card entitling the bearer to an average 20-percent discount on virtually all of the common medications.
Senior citizens are fully eligible to use the discount card.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) struck up a partnership with Caremark, a pharmaceutical services company that owns CVS pharmacies, a few years ago to provide the card to participating counties. Caremark has negotiated the discount with 57,000 pharmacies across the county, according to NACo.
The discount card is intended to lower the costs of medications for the uninsured and the underinsured. The card can be used by those with insurance, however, for medications not covered under their insurance plan’s discount scheme.
The program kicked off nationwide in May 2005, after a successful pilot program in 2004. NACo statistics show a savings of $39 million in the last two years on over 3.7 million prescriptions. On average, discount drug card users save 22 percent, with a savings range of 13 percent to 34 percent.
Over 800 counties take part in the program.
The discount card was born when county elected officials asked NACo to find a way to help people afford costly prescription medication.
“We came to the conclusion that helping people save money on their prescriptions was a real benefit we could offer,” said NACo Executive Director Larry Naake. “After a committee of county officials reviewed proposals from several companies, NACo entered into a partnership with Caremark to administer the program. It’s been a tremendous success.
Ten of Maryland’s 23 counties already provide the discount drug card to residents, including Eastern Shore counties Cecil, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Talbot.
There is no word yet on exactly when the discount prescription drug card would be available to the public in Worcester County.
“We expect to have something in front of you shortly,” Mason said.
“That benefits everyone in the county,” said Commissioner Bobby Cowger.
“I don’t see any downside,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs. “It will be a tremendous help I think to people in this county.”