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St. Croix County offers cards to cut medicine costs

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St. Croix County residents who are either uninsured or who have high out-of-pocket payments can soon get a discount card for prescription drugs.

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People who use the cards, which will be free to all county residents, can save an average of 22 percent of the retail cost of prescription drugs, claims the National Association of Counties.

NaCo has contracted with Caremark PCS Health, a pharmacy benefit management service, to offer the cards to member counties.

"I know of no other program like this," said St. Croix County Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting.

There are no enrollment fees, no age or income requirements, no application forms and no medical condition restrictions.

According to NaCo's website, virtually all commonly prescribed medicines are covered.

As a dues-paying county, St. Croix has no other cost for the program, said Whiting. NaCo dues are about $1,200 a year.

Caremark negotiates the discounts with participating pharmacies. Neither NaCo nor the counties receive any revenue from the program.

Nationwide more than 59,000 pharmacies honor the card. The card has no expiration dates and no limit on how often it can be used.

Whiting said he expects the county will have the cards to distribute starting about May 1. They will be available at county offices in Hudson, New Richmond and Baldwin and other sites in other communities.

The distribution sites will be named soon, and a group of county workers will be trained to distribute the cards.

People who have insurance coverage can pick up the card, but whether or not they get this discount is between them and their pharmacy, said Whiting.

Those with health insurance are encouraged to comparison shop to see if their plan or the county's discount card is the better deal.

St. Croix will be the 28th Wisconsin county to offer the card.

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