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12.16.09

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Breakdown

Discount Prescription Card

By Jessica Lussenhop


About a week ago, the county launched its Coast2Coast Rx discount prescription card program. The cards, which can be used by anyone, are said to provide an average discount of about 38 percent on 60,000 different medications. Rama Khalsa, the county's Health Services administrator, says 103 prescriptions have been filled so far on the discount card.

But who do they really benefit? Khalsa says the uninsured and the underinsured. "If you have health insurance, this card isn't going to do much for you," she says. "If you have health insurance but your insurance doesn't cover a specific drug, it might be worth looking at." She adds that card management company WellDyneRx and its clientele of big chain pharmacies would rather give a discount and get people in the doors, where they can conceivably make up for the discounts in toilet paper and other goods, rather than lose the business altogether when people don't fill prescriptions.

Tim Rahn, director of operations for Financial Marketing Concepts, the card's other backer, adds that the $5.75 fee is another place "where everybody gets paid." Fifty cents goes into a kitty for indigent county cancer patients. FMC and WellDyne take $3.25 from the fee and the pharmacies get $2.

Khalsa says the best way to get cheaper drugs is to do the research. "Go to the website and look at the prices. If the prices are better, they should consider printing the card," she says. "It really is for folks who have no coverage. Most of the insurance programs will beat these prices."


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