Virginia Drug Card Media Center
Most everyone agrees health care in this country is too expensive. There's great disagreement, however, about how to lower costs without sacrificing quality, innovation, and consumer choice. Mind-boggling complexity is part of the problem.
Still, there are ways to save money for people willing to make a small effort. The newest opportunity is the Virginia Drug Card Program, sponsored by the Greater Richmond Chamber. The card is available to anyone in Virginia at no cost and entitles the holder to discounts on many prescription drugs at numerous pharmacies, including CVS, Kmart, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Ukrop's.
The card should be especially helpful to those who are uninsured or do not have prescription drug coverage with their plans. Even those with prescription-drug insurance may find the card useful for purchasing drugs not covered by their policies. To learn more, go to www.virginiadrugcard.com. The chamber deserves credit for bringing the card to the commonwealth. It's another step in the right direction.
If you're looking to save money on prescription drugs, there's a new drug discount card that can cut the cost of medications by up to 75 percent. It's called the Virginia Drug Card Program.
It's free and if you live in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you're eligible to participate.
Shirley Morton is looking for a more affordable way to pay for prescription drugs. Morton says, "I go on the internet and search for different programs."
Now, there's a new option.
The Virginia Drug Card Program targets the uninsured and under insured.
Stephanie Kirksey of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce says, "The discount is typically between 10 and 75 percent on generic and name brand drugs. The average saving is about 35 percent."
Getting a card for the program is simple. Go to www.virginiadrugcard.com. Type in your name and email address. Submit the information. Then, print out the card.
"It's absolutely free," says Kirksey. "Anyone who's a resident in Virginia is eligible. There are no other eligibility requirements."
The program was launched by the United Networks of America. The Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce supports the initiative.
As for Morton, she calls the program another weapon in the battle against the rising cost of health care.
The discount card is accepted at most major and local pharmacy stores. So far, more than 8,000 Virginians have signed up.
For more information, call 1-800-775-9092.
A new prescription drug card coming out April 16 for Virginia residents has helped residents in other states save an average of 32 percent on their doctor-prescribed medicines.
The free card is available to any state resident, regardless of age or income. It's provided through the United Networks of America, a Louisiana-based company that offers identical drug-card programs in 25 states, said Francesco Ciccone, program director for the Virginia Drug Card.
"The discount is given at the pharmacy so the pharmacy takes less of the profit from the prescription being sold and the pharmaceutical company gives money back to the pharmacy," Ciccone said.
Any Virginia resident can go online to virginiadrugcard.com to download a card. Savings can be as high as 75 percent on some drugs, according to United Networks of America.
The program targets the uninsured and the underinsured, Ciccone said.
Those who have health insurance but no prescription benefits - which is common in health savings accounts and high-deductible health-care plans - may also benefit, Ciccone said.
And Medicare Part D users can use it if their prescriptions are not covered by their plan or if they exceed the benefit amount allotted to them and must pay out of pocket, he said.
A complete list of prescriptions and discounted prices can be found online at virginiadrugcard.com by clicking the "medication pricing" link. There's also a pharmacy locater that shows 1,125 participating pharmacies across the state.
Residents can call 1-877-321-6755 to get a card by mail. Callers can request a Virginia Drug Card by leaving a message with their name and mailing address, Ciccone said.
Contrasting a seeming constant barrage of price increases, a new program is providing prescription drug cost relief for Virginians across the state.
Officially introduced on April 16, the prescription-discount Virginia Drug Card is available to every resident regardless of age, income, health condition or insurance status.
"It's just a way to help," Francesco Ciccone, VDC program director, said Monday. In states that offer identical programs, card-carriers save an average of 30 percent on their prescription drug expenditures, he said. Using the card can save up to 70 percent on generic medication and up to 50 per cent on name brands.
Since the card's inception nationwide in 2006, more than $100 million has been saved, Ciccone said. Local pharmacies honoring the card include Commonwealth, CVS, Kmart and Modern. To get the card, Virginians can log on to www.virginiadrugcard.com. No Internet connection is no problem, though, Ciccone said. Interested residents can go to Kmart and mention the card to get savings. Pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies are footing the costs, saving the state and federal government as well.
"Pharmacies wanted to get a loyal customer (base) in hopes of selling more of their goods, like greeting cards, or whatever else, at the store," Ciccone said.
"Pharmaceutical companies are doing it, of course, because they want to be the good guy." There's no catch, no new taxes; it's simply a little pocketbook relief. And with gas and milk costing what they do, it seems like Virginia residents could use a little relief.
By early Monday morning, 13,418 cards had been downloaded from the Web site, and 287 had been mailed out, Ciccone said.
What makes the card particularly useful is that even people with insurance can utilize it, he said. There are a lot of government-assisted programs that help the poor, Ciccone said, but this program helps people with health insurance struggling to pay for pills as well.
"The buzzword (recently) has been Health Savings Accounts," he said, referring to flexible savings accounts many insurance plans offer.
The problem with those, Ciccone explained, is that the carrier has to pay enough out of pocket to reach the deductible before the employer-sponsored insurance money kicks in. In addition, he said, plans often do not cover non-formulary and experimental drugs.
Health insurance has become a dominating topic in times of economic uncertainty and presidential debates. As people increasingly are forced to choose between food, gas and medicine, the number of cards downloaded already indicates that people seem eager to save. "It isn't a cure," Ciccone said, "but it surely does help."
Contact Sarah Arkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 791-7983.
If you don't have prescription drug coverage, or even if you do, consider downloading a free Virginia Drug Card:
As a resident of Virginia, you and your family have access to a FREE Prescription Drug Card program. Simply download your Prescription Drug Card and receive savings of up to 75% at more than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies. You may create as many cards as you need. Participating pharmacies include the following: Giant Pharmacy, Drugstore at Martin's, Ukrop's Pharmacy, Kmart, Safeway and CVS/pharmacy as well as thousands of independent pharmacies. This program has "lowest price" logic to guarantee that you pay the lowest price on your prescriptions (you pay the lower of a discount off the Average Wholesale Price-AWP, a discount calculated off MAC Pricing, or the Pharmacy Promotional/Retail price)
To figure out how much your prescriptions would cost with the discount card, there's a handy medication pricing tool on the site.
I've learned it's usually worth shopping around to find the best prices on medication, especially ones you take on a regular basis, or if you have a non-generic prescription. Insurance co-pays haven't always been the best deal for me, and I've had one or two scripts that insurance wouldn't cover. So my arsenal includes drug cards like this, warehouse clubs (you don't have to be a member of Sam's Club to use its pharmacy), hospital pharmacies, and Walmart/Target $4 and $10 generic drug lists.