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Prescription discount cards to be available in Franklin County

April 28, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Prescription discount cards soon will be available to every one of the approximately 130,000 residents of Franklin County under a program offered through the National Association of Counties (NACo) and approved by the Board of County Commissioners.

The cards will be available at many county offices and senior activity centers beginning Tuesday, according to an e-mail sent to county employees Thursday.

"All county residents, regardless of age, income, or existing health coverage, may use the cards and it is anticipated that they will be accepted at 100 percent of the county's pharmacies," according to the e-mail from John J. Aguirre, the county's director of Human Resources. The message stated that 57,000 retail pharmacies honor the NACo prescription discount cards.

Commissioner Bob Thomas said the board recently signed on to NACo's Caremark program, which will provide an average savings of 20 percent on prescriptions. Participating in the program costs the county nothing, he said.

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"There was no downside to it at all," Thomas said. "I don't know why anybody would say no," he said of other counties.

"NACo announced this program about a year ago," Commissioner Cheryl Plummer said. "It works for people who have no insurance and people who are underinsured."

If a drug is not covered by a person's prescription plan, the discount program will cut some of that cost, she said.

"It also covers the gap in Medicare Part D," said Plummer, referring to the federal prescription plan and the point where the initial coverage limit is reached and beneficiaries can be subject to another deductible.

"We tracked the experiences of other counties" before deciding to join the program, Plummer said. During the first eight months the Erie County, Pa., was in the program, its residents saved about $250,000 using the discount cards, she said.

The NACo Web site for the Caremark program listed 22 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties as participating. Nine counties in Maryland have signed on to the program, according to the Web site, although Washington County is not on the list.

The Franklin County Human Resources Department, Area Agency on Aging Office, senior activity centers and many area pharmacies and churches soon will have the cards, Aguirre stated in the e-mail.

"We would also like to have them available at most county offices & buildings which are frequented by the public," he wrote.

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