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Cook County offers drug card program

Thursday, October 04, 2007
Chicago Defender
by Leila Noelliste

Amid all of the controversy over Cook County's healthcare system, the county is introducing a prescription discount card program to ease the financial burden many county residents are facing.
The discount card offers 20% off of prescription drugs and up to 50% off of generic drugs.
"We understand that healthcare costs can be pretty high for some families." said Cook County Board President Press Secretary Ibis Antongiorgi, "A lot of residents and families will welcome the financial relief."
There are more than 57,000 participating retail pharmacies, including major chains like CVS and Walgreen's. But the program's most winning quality is its inclusiveness; according Antongiorgi. All Cook County residents are eligible regardless of age, income or existing health coverage. Additionally, there is no enrollment form, membership fee or restrictions on frequency of use
"The Cook County prescription discount card offers significant savings for uninsured and under-insured residents of our county, and even those fortunate to have prescription coverage can use the card to save money on drugs that are not covered by their health plan." said Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who launched the program on September 20.
Though innovative, the prescription discount card program is not unique to Cook County. It is currently active in 850 counties throughout the country, including six in Illinois - Dekalb, DuPage, Kankakee, Lake, McHenry and Peoria - that implemented it before Cook County did.
Sponsorship for the program comes entirely from the National Association of Counties (NACo), an organization that, according to its website, "assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions…and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money." NACo has certainly lived up to its commitment, as the Prescription Discount Card program has saved an estimated $46 million dollars nation wide.
According to Antongiorgi, Cook County began the application process for the Prescription Discount Card program about a year ago. Discount cards can currently be accessed at the County Building, Commissioners' offices, and other sites around the county.

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