Mayor Parker Announces New Low-Cost Prescription Drug Program
Mayor Annise Parker today announced a new discount prescription drug card program that will be available to all Houstonians regardless of income, age or health status. The Coast2Coast Rx card is part of a public/private partnership involving the City of Houston, the Heinz Foundation and Financial Marketing Concepts Inc. (FMC) of Ponte Verde Beach, Florida, the issuer of the card.
“This new program can provide needed relief at a time when many Houston families are without jobs or health insurance” said Mayor Parker. “No one should have to choose between taking prescribed medication and putting food on the table. By reducing the cost of prescriptions we can free up cash for other family needs. I want to thank the Heinz Foundation and FMC for offering this to Houstonians.”
Heinz Foundation President Jeffrey Lewis said, "this program will help those in need and those without a voice. We are proud to be part of a bold, new, creative approach to tackling the problems of healthcare costs and quality many Houston residents face.”
Similar programs in other cities have already saved cardholders an average of 45 percent this year on the cost of prescriptions. The card will be distributed free of charge and may be used at all pharmacy chains and most independent pharmacies in Houston and around the country. The card also provides discounts of 50 to 80 percent for lab and imaging tests. Even pets and family members outside the city are able to take part in the program.
“We are pleased to work with the city and area pharmacies to help families in Houston save money on their prescriptions,” said FMC President Ed Rahn. “We expect cardholders to save hundreds of thousands of dollars each month.”
Marty McVey of Houston-based McVey and Associates coordinated all the arrangements between the city, Financial Marketing Concepts Inc. and the Heinz Foundation. “The card is primarily for people without health insurance although there are a number of instances where people with health insurance may save using the card,” said McVey. “For example people with high deductibles or a Health Savings Account. Some drugs aren’t covered by health policies – so the card will help provide savings in these situations.”
There is no cost to the city. In fact, the city will receive a $1 donation from FMC for every prescription filled. The donation will go to the Houston Health Department Health and Human Services Foundation, a nonprofit that supports special public health and human service programs that have no other dedicated source of funding. The foundation’s support helps provide eyeglasses and dental care to Houston schoolchildren. The donation from FMC will not impact the cost of the prescriptions.
“This is a win-win for the city and its residents,” said Houston Health Department Director Stephen Williams. “Uninsured or underinsured Houstonians will benefit from lower cost prescriptions and the city will receive some funding to funnel right back into services for that same population.”
The free cards will be available at city health clinics, multi-service centers and libraries as well as hospitals, urgent care centers and pharmacies. Cardholders simply take the card with them to the pharmacy or get the card at the pharmacy when they have a prescription to fill. There is no registration process other than what the pharmacies need to process a prescription. Residents can print and download a card at http://www.coast2coastrx.com. Go to the "print free card" menu, select "cities" and print the City of Houston card from there.
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