Madison County joins drug discount program

News-DemocratAugust 29, 2013 

Madison County residents will be getting a prescription discount card thanks to a county contract with a benefit company that could save them money.

St. Clair County joined the program last year.

Q: Where did this card come from?

A: Madison County contracted with ProAct Inc., a New York pharmacy benefit company, to get a prescription discount card sent to all residents. It offers a variety of discounts on prescriptions, including visual products and pet medications.

Q: How much will it cost me?

A: Nothing. There is no enrollment fee, no registration and residents do not pay anything to use the card.

Q: How much did it cost the county?

A: Nothing. It is free to the county, including the mailing of the cards. Everything was paid for by ProAct.

Q: I have health insurance. Will it lower my copays?

A: No. The card can only be used on full-price prescriptions. So it's of the most use for people who don't have insurance or whose insurance offers little to no prescription benefit. If your copays are high, you could ask your pharmacist whether you are better off using your insurance or the discount card on your prescription. Also, it could help if your insurance denies coverage for your particular prescription.

Q: Where can I use it?

A: ProAct lists most chain pharmacies in the metro-east as participating providers, including major grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS. The full list can be found on their website, www.proactrxsavings.com.

Q: How much can I save?

A: It varies according to the prescription and the pharmacy. The ProAct website has a calculator that allows you to enter your prescription and it will estimate what your cost would be at various participating pharmacies in your area.

Q: Who else is doing this?

A: Madison County is the third Illinois county to sign up. St. Clair County has had the program since March 2012. Since that time, there have been 29,683 claims on the cards. The average amount paid by users is $22.68, a 64 percent savings off their usual cost. But only about 800 cards are used each month. St. Clair County Economic Development Director Terry Beach said county officials hope more people will use the cards and want to increase awareness.

Q: I got one of those cards, but I threw it away. How do I get another one?

A: You can request one on the ProAct website. If you live in St. Clair County, you can stop by the county board office on the fifth floor of the county building, or the economic development office on the third floor. There should also be a number of cards available at city halls and township offices.

Q: How can ProAct get these discounts if they don't get paid by me or by the county?

A: ProAct account executive Karin Eckdahl said the company contracts with the pharmacies, who then process each prescription at the lower discounted rate. They also pay a transaction fee to ProAct each time the cards are used.

Q: Why did Madison County do this?

A: Chairman Alan Dunstan heard about the program from other county officials and sought the contract with ProAct. "(The card) is not a replacement for health insurance, but it is a significant benefit that helps make prescription drugs that are not covered by insurance more affordable for residents," Dunstan said.

Q: When will these cards show up?

A: They are already in the mail and should be arriving at Madison County residences this week. For more information, go to the ProAct web site at www.proactrxsavings.com or call the phone number on the bottom of the card.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 618-239-2507.

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