Originally created 11/17/06

Drug card promotion is sought



ATLANTA - Most of the more than 1.5 million Georgians without health insurance coverage are eligible to receive a free card giving them significant discounts on prescription drugs.

Many of them have been unaware of the nearly 2-year-old program; some have been wary of hidden catches.

Organizers trying to work around skeptical patients and hard-to-reach communities met Thursday with state legislators, asking them to help inform their constituents about the Together Rx Access card.

"This is a philanthropic initiative that is supported by 10 pharmaceutical companies to help the uninsured," Roba Whiteley, the plan's executive director told members of state legislative health committees meeting at the Capitol.

Since the card launched nationwide, 30,000 people in the state have signed up.

The state government has no official ties to the Together Rx Access program, though lawmakers earlier this year passed a resolution promoting the card.

To qualify, applicants can't have prescription drug coverage; must be ineligible for Medicare; and must be legal residents of the United States or Puerto Rico. Their household income has to be roughly 30 percent of the federal poverty level - individuals who make $30,000 a year or less or $60,000 for a family of four.

The income levels were set high enough to include the large population of workers without health insurance coverage, Ms. Whiteley said.

An estimated 46.6 million Americans are uninsured, including nine million children and 27 million workers without drug coverage.

By signing up, participants receive discounts on more than 300 brand-name prescriptions distributed by the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies ranging from medications for heart disease and asthma in addition to a number of other generic drugs.

The savings on brand prescriptions is typically between 25 and 40 percent, Ms. Whiteley said.

The Together Rx Access card is not the only industry-backed discount program.

More than 400 public and private groups offer ways for patients to save money, and in some cases receive free prescriptions, which can be found through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance clearinghouse at www.pparx.org.

DRUG DISCOUNTS


- To apply for the free Together Rx Access card, which gives qualifying uninsured patients access to prescription drug discounts visit the Web site, www.togetherrxaccess.com or call (800) 444-4106.


- To check your eligibility for more than 400 public and private programs that provide similar discounts, visit the Partnership for Prescription Assistance's Web site at www.pparx.org.



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