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Townships band together for discount prescription drug program

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Approximately 60,000 brand name and generic prescription drugs are under the Coast2Coast Rx program. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

Participating Townships

Although people who live anywhere can sign up for the Coast2Coast RX Card, about 40 Illinois townships have signed up to promote and get financial commissions from the program. About half of those are in Cook County.

Local townships already participating or planning to join include:

Kane County: Elgin

Cook County: Hanover, Barrington, Cuba, Ela, Schaumburg

McHenry County: Algonquin, Dorr

DuPage County: Bloomingdale, Milton, Naperville, Wayne, Winfield

For a complete list, see
www.coast2coastrx.com

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Updated: February 27, 2012 8:49AM



ELGIN — Elgin, Hanover and Algonquin townships have joined a prescription-discount program that backers say saves an average of 50 percent on the cost of prescription drugs for people who don’t have insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover specific medicines prescribed by their doctors.

People of any health condition or income level can join the program, it doesn’t cost anything to those who use it, and it even stands to raise some extra money for the township governments involved.

Township Supervisor Annette Miller announced Wednesday that Elgin Township is joining the Coast2Coast Rx Card program. Algonquin Township and Hanover Township — which includes the Cook County parts of Elgin, Streamwood and Bartlett — already have joined.

Miller said in a press conference the Coast2Coast Rx Cards are a product of a company named WellDyne and are being distributed in northern Illinois by the Illinois Public Pension Fund Association. They can be obtained for free at the Elgin Township office, 729 S. McLean Blvd.; social service agencies such as Senior Services Associates at 101 S. Grove Ave. in Elgin; at local nursing homes; and at many of the participating pharmacies.

Anyone with a computer printer also can print out a membership card by going to www.coast2coastrx.com, clicking on “Print Free Card,” then clicking on “townships” and “Elgin,” “Hanover” or “Algonquin.”

Who benefits

“Three groups of people stand to benefit most from this program,” said Debby Karton, a benefits coordinator with the pension fund association who has been recruiting more governmental bodies to participate:

People with no health insurance. WellDyne has negotiated with the parent chains of almost all local pharmacies to accept reduced prices for 60,000 prescription drugs from customers who present the Coast2Coast Rx Card.

People with Medicare Part D whose doctor has prescribed a drug that is not covered by Medicare. Karton said Coast2Coast Rx covers 60,000 drugs while Medicare Part D covers only 35,000. For example, she said, this might allow a patient to get a name-brand drug for a reasonable price even if Medicare would only pay for that drug’s generic version.

People who have prescription-drug insurance but have high deductibles. “Stores won’t let you use both your insurance and the Coast2Coast card on the same prescription,” Karton said. “But you should present both to the pharmacist, and he can tell you which way to process it would end up costing you less.”

On average, Karton said, Coast2Coast users save about 50 percent off the sticker price of each drug, with average savings of about $30 per prescription.

“The discount may be higher or lower, depending on the drug and the quantity purchased,” she said.

The township governments benefit, too, by getting a commission from WellDyne of 50 cents per prescription filled using a card that was registered through that township, after at least 1,700 prescriptions have been filled locally.

“We in the townships became interested in the program because we are the people who give out general assistance aid to people in need, and they typically don’t have health insurance,” Miller said.

The 50-cents-per-prescription commissions probably won’t add up to more than $1,000 or $2,000 a year, she estimated. But she said that whatever the program brings in will be used for the township‘s senior or general assistance programs.

Pets, grandkids

Karton said anybody of any income level or health status can join the program. But the township government will get its 50-cent commissions only if the person’s card is registered as being connected to a participating township.

Karton said users can check the website to see which drugstores and medical facilities accept the Coast2Coast card.

But almost all local pharmacies participate, she said, including the Elgin-area Osco, Walgreens, Walmart, Meijer, CVS and Dominick’s outlets, plus the independent Medicine Shoppe and Village Pharmacy stores.

Karton said WellDyne also has negotiated with a few dentists, eye doctors, hearing-aid providers, diabetes suppliers, medical labs and medical-imaging centers to provide discounts for holders of the card. The names of those also are available on the website.

Karton said the card even can be used to cut the price of medicine for the family pet, if the pet owner can persuade the veterinarian to let him or her fill the prescription at a participating human pharmacy.

People must be 18 years old to get a card but then can use it for dependent children, grandchildren and pets.

For more information, visit www.coast2coastrx.com or call the Elgin Township office at 847-741-2045.

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