County offers prescription drug discount card

Washington County residents can take advantage of a national program that offers discount drug purchases, county officials announced earlier this week.

The county is enrolled in the National Association of Counties (NACo) prescription drug discount card program that has negotiated discounts between CVS Caremark and participating pharmacies. The NACo discount drug card is free to the county and to residents.

The card can be used by residents when a person is uninsured or when a prescription is not covered — for example for Medicare Plan D participants — or for pet prescriptions that include a drug that is also used to treat conditions in humans.

All major chain pharmacies participate, including Walgreen’s, CVS, Wal-Mart, Target, and major grocery chains.

Lowell Johnson, Department of Public Health and Environment director, told the Board of Commissioners Tuesday that residents are taking advantage of the new program.

“We got quick response from residents around the county,” he said.

Johnson said cards are available at Washington County Library branches, WorkForce Center in Woodbury. Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics, senior centers and other community gathering places. He added that DPHE is considering offering cards at the county’s license centers and county food shelves.

The cards can also be printed from the web page Only one card per household is needed.

When using the card to buy prescription drugs, residents can save an average of 24 percent on their prescription medications. There is no cost to residents, no forms to fill out, no age or income requirements and no medical condition restrictions.

County officials said the discount card is not insurance, but provides immediate discounts at participating pharmacies. When presenting the card to a pharmacist, residents will pay the lower of either a discounted price or the pharmacy’s regular retail price.

The discounts are not available for over-the-counter or non-prescription products. However, discounts are available for many diabetic supplies. The card cannot be used in conjunction with other insurance, but rather used to purchase prescriptions that are not covered by insurance plans.

NACo started a prescription drug discount card program seven years ago, and it has grown nationwide with more than 1,400 counties participating, and with more than 40 Minnesota counties participating.

NACo administers the program through CVS Caremark. The county might receive a $1 per transaction in this program through its agreement with NACo. Discount cards are mailed directly to pharmacies with display stands. The NACo website lists participating pharmacies.