County Issues

A Year of Savings on Prescriptions
William Prather, Peoria County Board
One year ago, Peoria County introduced a free prescription drug discount program offered through the National Association of Counties (NACo). The program grants discount card holders an opportunity to save money on prescription drugs that are otherwise not covered by insurance. To measure the program’s efficacy, county staff receives monthly reports from NACo enumerating the savings Peoria County card holders have experienced—a cumulative savings that may astound you.

Since June 1, 2006, Peoria County residents have saved more than $89,283.09 with their discount cards. This number reflects savings through March 31; results from April and May were not available at the time of publication. The first three months, however, saw limited participation due to partial card distribution and it was not until August 2006 that participation reached its current plateau, with an average of 382 individuals presenting their discount cards for potential savings each subsequent month.

Indeed, a total of $77,264.06 has been saved by Peoria County residents since August 2006, resulting in an average savings of $9658.00 per month, while the first three months saw an average of only $4006.34. In addition, persons presenting their discount card at participating pharmacies between August 1, 2006 and March 31 saw, on average, an 88 percent occurrence of savings with an average savings of $11.98 per prescription or 24.6 percent the retail cost. Current card holders presenting their cards experienced an average savings of $25.28 per month.

Surely it’s not possible that only 382 people from a population of 183,500 buy prescriptions each month? Rising healthcare costs tend to suggest otherwise. In one year we have distributed approximately 30,000 discount cards; if the additional 29,618 card holders saved $25 on their prescriptions each month, Peoria County residents would save over $9 million annually! Does this not astound you?

Anyone can participate in the program and no registration is required. You do not have to be a Medicare beneficiary, there are no income or age requirements, there is no limit on usage and individuals with prescription coverage can use the card for drugs not covered by their health plan. To participate, you need only obtain a card and present it at one of 54 participating pharmacies in Peoria County; 57,000 nationwide. The discount card can be used when traveling, for mail-order prescriptions or for pet prescriptions. Check your local library or city, village or township hall office for card availability. Cards can be picked up at the Friendship House, Central Illinois Agency on Aging, Rural Peoria County Council on Aging and the South Side Mission. Cards are also available at the Peoria City/County Health Department, Bel-Wood Nursing Home and the Peoria County Courthouse.

While this beneficial program helps meet the County Board’s strategic goal of delivering quality services in a professional manner, more importantly, it helps you meet your goal of acquiring affordable prescription drugs for you and your family. For more information on this savings opportunity, call Peoria County Administration at 672-6056 or visit www.peoriacounty.org. IBI