Discount cards arriving soon

August 26th, 2013

A free prescription drug discount card will be mailed soon to every resident in Madison County. The card could deliver discounts of up to 45 percent as well as discounts for pet medications and hearing and vision services.

The program, announced at Wednesday’s County Board meeting, is the result of a partnership between the county and ProAct, a pharmacy benefit management company based in Syracuse, N.Y.

“This is a unique program, and I’m just thrilled that we can offer it to the citizens of Madison County,” said Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan.

The idea is to help make prescription drugs more affordable to all county residents, though it will be particularly beneficial to the underserved and uninsured.

It comes at no cost to the county. ProAct will pick up the cost of mailing the cards out, according to Karin Eckdall, a representative of ProAct.

Dunstan said he learned of the program recently at a meeting of Metro Counties of Illinois, a lobbying group for larger counties in the state.

The cards can be used immediately at most pharmacies in Madison County.

St. Clair County was the first in Illinois to participate when they partnered with ProAct last year. Discount cards were mailed to residents there in late March of 2012. During a five month period, about 4,000 residents used the card.

It will take three or four months before Madison County will be able to tell whether the program is as successful here, says Annette Schoeberle, the administrator of the Madison County Safety & Risk Management Department. “We’ll definitely have ways of tracking the overall average discounts,” she said.

The cards can’t be used on top of other insurance programs or discounts. Still, residents who have insurance can use the card if a particular drug isn’t covered by their own plan.

Discounts are also available for pet medication and hearing and vision services, even LASIK. More information can be found at

The card can deliver discounts of 10 to 20 percent off the market price of brand name prescription drug; generic drugs can be discounted from 20 to 70 percent.

Residents can actually do a price comparison ahead of time by checking the price on ProAct’s website and comparing it to coverage offered by their own insurance policy, Schoeberle said.

ProAct began producing a discount drug card in 2005. They make their money by collecting a fee per transaction on each pharmacy claim that is processed.

Madison County started a similar drug discount card program in October of 2010, implemented by the National Association of Counties. The program is still available for residents. But the average discount of that program was only 22 percent – less than half what ProAct offers – and the cards were not mailed to residents. Madison County Board members handed those cards out in their districts.

Schoeberle says the ProAct card is free and easy to use. “A cardholder will simply present the card at a participating pharmacy,” she said in a news release. “There is no enrollment fee, no membership fee and no restrictions or limitations on how often the card is used.”

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