City To Cut Drug Costs For Uninsured Residents

July 09, 2009|By Angela J. Bass | Angela J. Bass,

Regardless of income, Baltimore residents can expect to start saving an average of 22 percent on their prescription drug costs, thanks to the city's newly adopted prescription drug discount card program sponsored by the National Association of Counties.

Residents can pick up the card at local pharmacies, health clinics and libraries, and begin using it right away to reduce drug costs without filling out an application. An entire family can use a single card.

"The discount card offers significant savings for the uninsured and underinsured residents of our city," said the city's interim health commissioner, Olivia Farrow. More than 100,000 Baltimoreans are uninsured, said Farrow, forcing many to pay steep prices for commonly prescribed drugs. "Even those fortunate to have prescription coverage can use the card to save money on drugs that are not covered by their health plan."

Most pharmacies nationwide, including CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, accept the NACo card, which users need only present to the pharmacist behind the counter. Officials said supplies for vision, diabetes and hearing will not be discounted until next year.

However, agency officials stressed that having full health coverage, something many low-income Baltimore City residents can get free of charge through several free Medicaid programs, is the best way to stay healthy.

Participants interested in using the prescription card can look up the pre- and post-discount cost of prescriptions before going to the pharmacy by visiting or by calling 311. Nine out of 10 pharmacies nationwide accept the NACo card.

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