After all of the political mail of the past few months, I was about to toss a piece of direct mail stating “DO NOT DISCARD … can save you money” (usually a sign to throw out) until I noticed the Killingworth seal. I actually read this mail and, intrigued, called First Selectwoman Catherine Iino for the rest of the low-down.
The Town of Killingworth, through its association with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), is now providing a new prescription discount card that will help save residents money on prescription medicines not covered by insurance. The “Town of Killingworth Prescription Drug Discount Card,” administered by ProAct, Inc., a New York state-based pharmacy benefit management company, is free and available to everyone.
The program is offered throughout the state to towns that are members of the CCM. A number of neighboring towns, including Durham and Old Lyme, were among the first to sign up, as is Kilingworth.
The First Selectwoman explains, “ProAct negotiates with pharmacies for bulk discounts which get passed on to the consumer. We are not in the middle of it at all.”
“It doesn’t do everything for everybody. If you have insurance it won’t cover your deductible, but if you don’t have insurance or are underinsured it should give you a good discount,” she adds.
Iino doesn’t know how many residents will benefit but many, she feels, will be seniors, “although with the economic situation I think there are a lot of people running around without insurance,” she notes.
The card covers eyeglasses and hearing aids, “and we know some people who that will help who couldn’t afford hearing aids. Hearing aids are expensive,” Iino said and added, “You can even get pet medications if they’re filled at a pharmacy."
The card is accepted by most pharmacies in Connecticut including Killingworth Family Pharmacy, Big Y, CVS, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.
The Town of Killingworth has a one-year contract with ProAct.
“Hopefully it will keep going. Really it means that we won’t be offering other competing plans.”
There is no cost to the town. “They did all the marketing and mailing. The pharmacies participate because it helps bring business to them,” she said.
Iino states, “It is great to be able to offer this to our community.”
Keith Lyke, pharmacist/owner of Killingworth Family Pharmacy said, “There’s a lot of discount cards out there. This just happens to be one that’s doing it through the towns and municipalities.”
“It’s going to benefit people who don’t have insurance or who have insurance that doesn’t cover everything,” Lyke adds.
For example, certain prescriptions are excluded for some of the Medicare Part D plans. “It could help that – those things that aren’t covered."
For those who have insurance, he explains, “it won’t benefit them because it can’t be used on top of their insurance.”
The card can also be used for pet medications, “as long as it’s something a human could take,” he points out.
The price of a medication, the pharmacist explains, “is off a contracted rate like any of the insurance companies do with pharmacies. They negotiate a contracted discounted rate based on the medication. It’s almost medication-specific. Brand names will get a little discount because they’re so expensive to begin with, generics are where you can start seeing a bigger saving.”
“Some generics are much more expensive than others and the discount card has a better discount pricing on some of the generics that could be much less than what they would be paying.”
While there’s no set percentage off, Lyke says, “A lot of these cards say 'Can save up to 75 percent' but I would have to say, depending on what it is, figure 10 to 20 percent.”
The price of a medication also depends on what pharmacy the customer uses. Lyke says, “We try to be fair with our pricing because we’re independent and own the place and can work with our prices whereas chains can’t do that.”
When Lyke originally discussed the program with the First Selectwoman, he assured her that if the Killlingworth Family Pharmacy price was better than the discount price with the card, he would give the customer the better price. Likewise, “If the discount card price is better than what our price would be, we’ll give them that.”
Regarding pets, he explained that the card cannot be used at the veterinarian’s office. “We transmit to ProAct and they transmit back to us the actual pricing. Vets aren’t set up for that.”
Savings are also available on vision, Lasik and hearing services.
ProAct gave the pharmacy extra cards “so if somebody didn’t have the card with them we can give it to them,” he said.
Even though the cards just arrived this week, Lyke said customers have already come in and used them.