Ask the expert: Prescription card available to those without good coverage

Even with a large increase in health insurance coverage in the state under the federal Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, many people still find paying for prescriptions to be difficult. To keep consumers from having to choose between their needed medications and other necessities, MedChi, the state medical society, partnered with pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate discounts with pharmacies and allow anyone without prescription drug coverage or those who have large out-of-pocket costs to access discounts. All they have to do is go to Med-Chi’s website, print out a card and take it to the pharmacy.

Carmen Konert, MedChi’s program development director for the Maryland Rx Card, said uninsured and underinsured Marylanders have saved more than $97 million in drug costs since the program began in 2010. The group now hopes more people who need assistance will tap the resource.

What is the Maryland Rx Card and why was it launched?

The Maryland Rx Card program is provided to Maryland families by United Networks and MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society. The goal is to help lower prescription drug costs. One can simply create and print a free prescription drug card and receive savings of up to 75 percent. Discounts average roughly 30 percent at more than 56,000 national and regional pharmacies.

Who is eligible and are there limitation for income, age or immigration status?

Membership to the Maryland Rx Card program has no requirements. Unlike insurance programs, there is no income, age, pre-existing condition, deductible or waiting period restrictions. The program is designed to help patients nationwide who do not have prescription drug coverage or who have coverage but are subject to large deductibles, large co-pays, formulary limitations, dosing limitations, gaps and/or any cash out-of-pocket expenses.

Who are the sponsors and how is it funded?

Maryland Rx Card’s principle sponsor is MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society. Maryland Rx Card has partnered with pharmacy benefit managers that negotiate discounts directly with the pharmacies on over 20,000 name brand and generic drugs. These discounts are then passed directly on to cardholders.

What can you use the card for?

Maryland Rx Card is perfect for people without insurance or who are underinsured.

How big are the discounts for consumers?

For the year 2015 the average savings was 32 percent off retail pricing for brand and generic drug prescriptions. Your savings will be clear once the pharmacist enters your filled prescription into the register. Whether the lowest discount price is the Maryland Rx Card's price, your present insurance program's price, or the pharmacies already discounted price, you are guaranteed to receive the lowest price available.

How do you sign up?

There are no enrollment forms, no age or income requirements, no waiting periods, no eligibility required, no exclusions, covers pre-existing conditions, no claim forms to file, no annual or lifetime limits. Just print a card here http://www.medchi.org/MDRXcard.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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