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County residents could save money on prescriptions under new program

Schenectady County residents who receive a piece of mail from the county and ProAct in the next couple of days shouldn't mistake it for junk. Enclosed is a prescription drug discount card.

If you're maybe insured but don't have drug coverage, if you're a senior and fall within this Medicare gap, then this card is great for you, said Joe McQueen, director of public communications for Schenectady County

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The cards will provide discounts of 10 percent to 50 percent off prescription drugs, and any resident can use it in any participating pharmacy in the county.

The card is completely free and doesn't track prescriptions a cardholder buys. There are no names on the card, and if it's lost, the county and pharmacies can provide replacements at no extra cost.

While the card is for everyone, it might be specifically helpful to residents who participate in the Medicare Part D program. The program is for senior citizens who do not have some kind of supplemental coverage for their medications already. It helps reduce the amount they spend on pills, and in some cases, covers the cost all together. The program covers 75 percent of prescription costs above $250 a year, and 25 percent of the costs from $250 to $2,250.

However, there's a loophole for participants whose drug costs total more than $2,250 and less than $5,100.

According to McQueen, once a senior citizen participating in the program hits the threshold of $2,250, they have to pay out of pocket until they hit the next threshold of $5,100, in which case medications are covered completely.

"If you're on a fixed income and you're 70 and you have medications you have to take, that can be a lot," said McQueen.

The drug discount card can theoretically save someone paying $4,000 out of pocket for his or her medications up to $2,000 per year.

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