New Jersey, West Virginia: Helping Uninsured Residents Obtain Prescription Drugs
Summaries of news aboutrecently announced prescription drug programs for uninsured residents of New Jersey and West Virginia appear below:
- New Jersey: The Medical Society of New Jersey on Monday announced a partnership with managed care insurer QualCare that will provide prescription drug discount cards to uninsured state residents, the Bergen Record reports (Layton, Bergen Record, 4/1). The cards will offer savings of as much as 50% on brand-name drugs or more for some generic drugs. The cards will be accepted at about 50,000 U.S. pharmacies and will be distributed to uninsured patients by physicians who are members of the medical society or part of the QualCare network. QualCare also will distribute the cards through hospital clinics and to any other physicians requesting them. According to QualCare CEO Annette Catino, "We're getting distribution to about 80% of the physicians practicing in New Jersey." She said that some discounts "are coming from rebates from drug makers, who see this as a marketing tool to get foot traffic through the door" (Johnson, AP/Houston Chronicle, 3/31).
- West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) has announced a health program that offers no-cost prescription drugs by mail to the state's 245,000 uninsured residents, the AP/Charleston Gazette reports. The program, West Virginia Rx, will be administered by West Virginia Health Right clinics in Charleston and Beckley. Pharmaceutical companies will donate the drugs. Uninsured residents between ages 18 and 65 with annual incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible for the program. According to the AP/Gazette, "Drug companies have long donated medications to free clinics," but the new program aims "to get more medications to more patients quicker." Perry Bryant, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, praised the program but noted that there are as many as 250,000 additional state residents who have health insurance but no drug coverage (AP/Charleston Gazette, 3/28).
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