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Prescription discount utilization expected to stay low

A new program for uninsured Washington County residents has been utilized by some, though not enough for county officials to invest in significantly expanding it.

The Prescription Discount Card program offered by the National Association of Counties (NACo) has been running in Washington County for 14 months, with about 300 users taking advantage of it, according to Public Health Director Lowell Johnson.

The program gives qualified residents up to $10 discount on each prescription in some cases, adding up to significant savings over time.

But with just 7 percent or 16,800 people of the entire county’s population uninsured, and with the utilization rate, the county won’t necessarily need to expand or market the program in the future.

Washington County Board of Commissioners discussed the matter Nov. 12 at a meeting where officials directed staffers to pursue a similar dental discount program and leave the Prescription Discount Card as is.

“I think our utilization rate is always going to be quite low,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure that we would get this number up no matter how much we market it.”

The county may begin offering the dental discount program, which is more transaction-based, and offers up to 50 percent discounts on dental procedures.

“That seems like it could be significant,” Commissioner Gary Kriesel said, as he praised the discount programs and said it’s services like these offered by counties that help residents in need.

“You put an extra dollar in their pocket, they appreciate that,” he said.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.