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The Most Valuable Discount Card You've Never Heard Of

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May 1, 2009

Albany, NY - Thousands of New Yorkers qualify for a free card that could save them money on prescriptions if only they knew about the program. Now, senior citizen advocates are working to raise the visibility of the New York Prescription Saver (NYPS), which can generate savings of 30 to 60 percent on medicine for low-to-moderate income 50- to 64-year-olds and people determined to be disabled by the Social Security Administration.

Julie Naglieri, an official with the Department of Health, says that's good news for an age group often facing health insurance problems, growing medical concerns, and pink slips.

"The need was great enough a year ago when the program was enacted, but now the need has only increased with the economy. The promotional campaign is targeting those more-likely to need the program - the more vulnerable ages; those who would tend to use more prescription drugs, and who don't have other insurance coverage."

AARP is helping spread the word about the NYPS card. Bill Ferris, AARP's New York legislative representative, says 50- to 64-year-olds with limited income are often in a precarious position.

“People delay taking their prescription drugs in this age group, there is the onset of chronic health care conditions within this age group, and also the economy – with them being laid off. This is really not a good outlook. We encourage this age group to take advantage of this prescription drug discount card."

Right now, heightened awareness seems to be just what the doctor ordered, adds Ferris.

"We think the Department of Health should absolutely publicize this card. I think they've been doing it, but we encourage them to do it more."

A measure has been introduced in the legislature that would make the card available to all eligible New Yorkers, regardless of age. That was the original goal of the program before it emerged from Albany in a scaled-back form.
Individuals may apply for the New York Prescription Saver card online, by phone, mail, or by visiting one of the nearly 4,000 participating pharmacies.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY