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Drug cards will aid the uninsured

A new plan being initiated by the Pike County Commission will make prescription drugs more affordable for residents without health insurance.

A plan to provide assistance to uninsured residents in Pike County has been discussed by the County Commission for a few years, but commissioners are finally ready to move forward with the proposal.

The National Association of Counties Prescription Drug Card Program will provide a discount to people without health insurance on their medicine purchases, said District 1 Commissioner Homer Wright, who first proposed the idea locally.

“If you’ve got insurance, it won’t do you much good,” Wright said. “But, people who don’t have medical insurance will get a 20 percent discount on prescription drugs.”

Wright said anyone without health insurance will qualify for the discount card, which will be provided at no expense to residents.

County Administrator Harry Sanders said commissioners approved the NACo prescription cards Aug. 25, and are now in the process of ordering them for distribution. Sanders said the cards should arrive within eight to 10 weeks.

The prescription drug cards will come at no charge to the county commission, Sanders said.

“Based on the fact the program doesn’t cost anything, and it could save some money for the county, the commission decided to adopt it,” Sanders said.

The idea for the cards came when Wright and Commissioner Charlie Harris traveled to a NACo conference, Sanders said.

“Commissioner Wright first brought this to the commission’s attention after attending a NACo Conference, and we were waiting to see what the response would be in other areas and what kind of experience the other areas would have in it before we moved forward with it,” Sanders said.

Without traveling to the convention the commission would not likely have heard about the NACo prescription drug program, Wright said.

“You don’t get that kind of information if you don’t go find out about it,” Wright said.

Wright said he is not certain how many county residents would benefit from the program.

A report from the U.S. Census Bureau said between 2004 and 2006, and average of 636,000 people in the state lacked health insurance.

“We got a lot of people in the county that need some assistance with medicine,” Wright said.