Food City helping sign up residents for Sullivan Rx Card

J. H. Osborne • Feb 26, 2007 at 11:30 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - It's free and it could save you an average of 28 percent on your prescription medications.

Those potential savings - which promoters say can range anywhere from 10 percent to 75 percent, depending on the medication - has piqued a lot of people's interest in the past week, Sullivan County officials said Monday.

And Food City is working with Sullivan County to make the Sullivan Rx Card more easily accessible. When asked, any Food City Pharmacy in the Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia region will enroll you in the prescription discount card program.

The card, a product of Knoxville-based Advantage Wellness of America (AWA), is accepted by thousands of national, regional and local pharmacies, including Food City. But Food City is the only pharmacy working with the county to facilitate enrollment, said AWA Chief Executive Officer Tim Helton.

Last week the Sullivan County Commission voted to enter into an agreement with AWA to raise awareness of the card's availability to county residents. The availability of the card to county residents was first made known by the County Commission's Insurance Committee, which recommended the agreement with AWA to the full commission.

The AWA prescription card is free to anyone who signs up, Helton said, regardless of income.

It is not insurance. It is primarily intended for people with no insurance or the underinsured.

The version being promoted locally is called the "Sullivan Rx Card," but enrollment is open to residents of other counties in Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina.

You can't use it to get an additional discount if you fill a prescription with your insurance provider's plan - but it can be used to get a discount on prescriptions not covered by your plan.

And Helton said the card sometimes offers a better price than an insured person's required co-pay.

The day after the Times-News published an article about the County Commission's vote on the card last week, AWA's office received more than 150 telephone calls from people seeking the card or more information, Helton said.

AWA entered similar agreements to promote the card in several other Tennessee counties, including Helton's home county, Knox - where a similar flurry of phone calls occurred.

One of those was from an elderly couple who were unable to print a card or get more information online, Helton said, so he agreed to meet them in a Food City parking lot.

He printed them a card and went with them into the Food City and asked the pharmacist there to give them a price check on their potential savings.

"Before, without the card, they were spending $1,200 per month on the medications," Helton said. "And with the card, that dropped to $680."

Helton cautioned that the story was not a typical one but said he believes there will be some such cases here in Sullivan County.

If you have access to the Internet, the card can be downloaded from www.sullivanrxcard.com. Once you provide your name, street address and ZIP code, a membership card will appear for you to print and take to a participating pharmacy.

You can also ask for the card when filling a prescription - new or transferred from another pharmacy - at any Food City Pharmacy.

If all else fails, you can call AWA toll-free at 1-866-216-6038.

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