Thanks to a new partnership between the City of Savannah and the National League of Cities, area residents will get a discount on prescription medications that aren't already covered by Medicare or insurance.
The prescription drug discount card program was unveiled at a press conference in City Hall last Wednesday. The Mayor was joined by members of City Council and the healthcare community to help explain the plan and its importance for the community.
The program is free for everyone regardless of age, income, insurance coverage, or area of residence - for example, it's even available to those living outside of Savannah's city limits. It requires no membership, and there are no limits on the number of times an individual can use their card.
It's a discount card, not actual insurance - meaning that you will still have to pay for medications, but just not as much - on average 20 percent less. And no, it's not too good to be true.
The discount program is seen as a modicum of economic relief for local families, particularly those who are uninsured or under-insured, and also a tool to help fight poverty in the area.
"This is just another example of taking the issue of poverty reduction seriously," said Daniel Dodd, Director of the Step Up Savannah program, during his remarks at the press conference. "We're supportive of this, and grateful."
The program came about after the Mayor initiated contact with the NLC in September of last year, and City staff, lead by Management Fellow Neil Obringer, has been working diligently in preparation to have cards distributed to the community.
During his remarks, Mayor Johnson reiterated how important Savannah's relationship with the NLC has been. "We get a return on our investment sending council members to attend the National League of Cities."
He also pointed out how council members like Edna Jackson, Tony Thomas and Van Johnson have all taken leadership positions on NLC committees, which have helped bring new programs and grants to Savannah.
The prescription discount program won't cost the City or its residents anything, and is covered by the NLC in conjunction with CVS Caremark.
Prescription drugs represent over ten percent of healthcare expenditure, and are the fastest growing sector of healthcare expense, explained Dr. Diane Weems, Chief Medical Officer of the Chatham County Health Department during the event.
She elaborated further with evidence from a recent survey showing over 30 percent of people had avoided a visit to a doctor's office or used home remedies because of fear of medical costs, and over 20 percent had skipped a dose or split pills in half in order to put off having a prescription filled.
The card can only be used at participating pharmacies. However, there are about 50 local pharmacies participating, and over 59,000 pharmacies nationwide who are taking part in the program.
Discount cards can be picked up from various locations across the city, including St. Joseph's/Candler, Memorial Health, Live Oak Public Library Branches, the County Health Department Office, Curtis V. Cooper Community Health Center, JC Lewis Health Center, St. Pius FRC, the Housing Authority and any of the City's Community Centers, among others.
For more information on the prescription discount card, visit the City's website, www.savannahga.gov or the program website, www.caremark.com/nlc. To get more info on participating pharmacies you can also call 1-800-620-1749.