Senior drug discount program gets approval

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COLUMBUS – Ohio’s Controlling Board recently approved a contract with MemberHealth of Solon, Ohio, to manage a prescription drug discount program for the Ohio Department of Aging’s popular Golden Buckeye program.

“I am pleased to see this vital program implemented to give Ohio’s seniors and people with disabilities sorely-needed help in meeting the rising costs of prescription drugs,” said Gov. Bob Taft. “I continue to urge Congress to address this issue more broadly by adding prescription coverage to Medicare.”

Of the six companies that responded to the request for proposals in August, MemberHealth presented the most attractive proposal for pharmaceutical management services for the Golden Buckeye Prescription Drug Benefit Plan.

The program will provide Golden Buckeye members with discounts of up to 20 percent or more off normal cost at pharmacies. Greater discounts will be possible through mail order processes and the use of generic equivalents.The Ohio Departments of Aging and Administrative Services prepared the request for proposals and selected the best program. The Department of Aging developed administrative rules that will govern the program’s operation, and solicited input concerning the rules from constituent groups, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacists and pharmacies, benefit manager organizations as well as senior citizens and advocacy groups.”This is a tremendous opportunity to revitalize the successful Golden Buckeye program and use it to spread the message that aging is everybody’s business,” said Joan W. Lawrence, Director of the Department of Aging.The Ohio Department of Aging and MemberHealth will issue 1.6 million new Golden Buckeye cards to eligible Ohioans with current Ohio driver’s licenses and state ID cards beginning in January 2003. All persons age 60 and above regardless of income and persons unable to work due to permanent and total disabilities are eligible and will receive cards at no cost.The Golden Buckeye Card has been a private/public partnership since 1976. More than 22,000 merchants participate, offering discounts on everything from haircuts to car repair. For more information and merchant listings visit www.goldenbuckeye.com.

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