Manassas Journal Messenger | Barg pushes prescription cards

If things go well at the next Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting, county residents could soon receive prescription discount cards.

Supervisor Hilda M. Barg, D-Woodbridge, announced Wednesday that she will ask supervisors to approve a contract with Caremark Rx Incorporated, to get the card for all county residents regardless of insurance coverage, age or existing health conditions.

Everyone is eligible, Barg said.

“We’re going to push to get those cards out immediately, just as soon as we can get them,” Barg said at a press conference Wednesday.

The cards, which save an average of 20 percent on prescription drugs, would cost the county nothing, and card holders wouldn’t have to pay anything but the cost of their prescriptions, Barg said.

Dale Thomas of Caremark, a pharmacy benefits managing firm, said his company earns a small fee, paid by the pharmacist, every time someone uses their card to fill a prescription.

“It’s a fractional amount of money. It’s less than a buck,” Thomas said.

Caremark profits through volume.

“We have thousands of card holders out there, so the

potential for earning revenue is based upon a very wide population across the country using these cards,” Thomas said.

More than 40 counties nationwide participate in the program, Thomas said.

“There are at least 200 that have inquired about it,” Thomas said.

The program is offered through the National Association of Counties and Virginia Association of Counties.

Prince William County is a member of both.

Supervisor John Jenkins, D-Neabsco, and Barg learned of the program at a recent Virginia Association of Counties meeting

Association spokesman Jim Campbell said the program, which has been piloted in other states over the last year, was approved in Virginia within the last four to six weeks.

“It’s been very successful in the pilot states,” Campbell said.

Although everyone is eligible for the discount card, people with good insurance plans might not need it, Campbell said.

“It’s really designed for people who don’t have health insurance or policies that don’t cover much,” he said.

People with insurance might realize some savings on drugs that are not covered in their regular plans or find that the savings from the discount card exceed their regular insurance, Campbell said.

People with insurance who use the card will not be penalized on their regular insurance, Barg said.

“This plan does not affect your coverage one bit,” Barg said.

“If your doctor writes a prescription for a drug not covered by your insurance, you can use this card to get a discount from participating pharmacies,” Barg said.

Many area pharmacies participate in the program, Barg said.

She called local pharmacies Wednesday before the press conference to find out.

“Wal -Mart, Shoppers, Giant, Safeway and CVS — every one of them participate already,” she said.

Jenkins said he thinks supervisors will approve the plan.

“I’ve talked to most of the members of the board and I haven’t found anybody against it,” Jenkins said.

If the plan is approved, the county will announce how to get the cards, Barg said.

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