Discount card perfect prescription for Cobb County, Lee says
by Jon Gillooly
December 11, 2012 12:52 AM | 4720 views | 5 5 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — County Chairman Tim Lee is encouraging residents to use a free discount prescription card called Coast2CoastRx when visiting the pharmacy. For every prescription filled using the card, the county gets $1.25.

“Everybody should have it as an option to their plan, and when they go get prescriptions, have the druggist price them out on both their Coast2Coast and their regular (insurance). In some instances it’s cheaper,” Lee said.

Randy Hartmann, membership services director of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, said his group endorsed the program in April and since then, about 60 Georgia counties are either using it or in the process of signing up.

Hartmann describes it as a volume-based pharmacy discount program. The cardholder can receive as much as 75 percent off the retail price of medication, he said.

“Anyone is eligible,” Hartmann said. “Those folks without insurance or who are underinsured are going to benefit the most greatly by it, but even those people with health insurance that may have a high deductible, they can benefit from the card,” he said. “If they have insurance, they should present their insurance (and) they should present the Coast2Coast card. The pharmacist should tell them what is the cheapest way to purchase that drug.”

Hartmann described how the county gets money from the program.

“Every time a pharmacist fills a prescription, there is something called a filling fee,” he said. “Coast2Coast has negotiated with pharmacies to receive a portion of that filling fee, and Coast2Coast has elected to give a portion of that fee back to the county for their participation in the program.”

The county gets $1.25 from Coast2Coast for every prescription filled using the discount card. Since rolling the program out in October, it has received $107.56 from 86 prescriptions.

Coast2Coast has projected that within 12 months, as many as 3,000 prescriptions in Cobb will be filled using the discount card, said Tony Hagler, the county’s human resources director. That would result in a total payment to the county of $3,750.

Lee said that the program does not cost the county any money, and that public feedback has been positive.

“We’re still a little early as to how people are going to think about it overall,” he said. “As we get more experienced with its implementation and ease of use, we get more people talking about it, I think that will help.”

Hagler said Coast2Coast printed and distributed the cards on behalf of the county to all participating pharmacies, which he believes are most pharmacies in the county.

“If a customer goes up to have their prescription filled, they should be able to access a card,” Hagler said.
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Shell game
December 11, 2012
What does this do for the pharmacies?

Part of the reason I ask is because the County healthcare plan requires insured to use mail order prescriptions, MedCo, as opposed to the local pharamacist. Thus, County employees don't really go to the local pharmacy anymore.

Seems to me the County would make a lot more than $107.56 if it actually allowed its own employees to use the local pharmacist, and then collected the sales tax on those prescriptions being filled.

But, hey, I guess Coast2Coast will be giving the County $3,750 in about a year. We're in the money!
December 11, 2012
Why would anyone want to give $ 1.25 to Cobb County for every prescription filled?
Bob Bummer
December 11, 2012
That is what I would like to know. Now that the county is getting a piece of the action prices will most certainly rise. I was thinking of starting a discount card racket for milk, bread, and eggs. I'll be generous by only taking a cut of $.50 for each.
Daughter of a Senior
December 11, 2012
Unfortunately, when I just went to Kroger with my elderly mother, we were told the card/discount did not work with Medicare. We also tried to apply a coupon directly from the manufacturer, but that, too, did not work for Medicare recipients.

If anyone in this county, and indeed, this nation needs assistance with prescriptions, it is our senior citizens. Watching my mother spend 30-40% of her Social Security insurance (SSI) on medications alone is heartbreaking. If Mr. Lee would go on the front page of the newspaper with a solution for this inequity, then and only then would this story be worthy of ink.
Mlee T.
December 11, 2012
Does this collected money go back into county healthcare system for the medically needy? That would seem to make the most sense.

Where will it go and why wasn't that specific question answered in the article? It might help me decide between one discount card or another. Without knowing the particulars I might prefer to choose the cheaper card.

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