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County promotes new Rx card, but UMC won’t participate

The county is touting a new program coming to El Paso offering a prescription discount card for free. But while the rollout is happening this week, the county’s hospital will not be a part of it.

Coast2CoastRx cards should be available in participating pharmacies starting Friday.

“It’s a card for people who don’t have insurance or are under-insured,” Said Zach Barrett, spokesman for Coast2Coast. “Many people who are in that predicament can’t go to the pharmacy and afford their medications.”

The card promises prescription discounts of 10 percent to 75 percent, and Barrett said it averages about 60 percent overall.

It will be free to all El Paso and even Juarez residents, though valid only at participating U.S. pharmacies.

Twenty other counties in Texas are also participating in the program. It can be a big benefit for counties which will receive about a $1.50 for each prescription filled using the card

“There actually was a bid process to kind of have the exclusive rights to distribution under the auspices of El Paso County,” County Judge Veronica Escobar said, adding that another county she spoke with about the program had received $250,000 in one year as a result.

Coast2Coast’s website shows a number of stores and pharmacies across the region that will accept the card, including Walgreens and CVS pharmacies. But some of the stores contacted by ABC-7 said they had no idea about a new discount card approved by the county.

Coast2Coast said they will be rolling out the program and talking to pharmacies this week. But University Medical Center won’t be one of them despite being listed as participating in a press release from the county promoting the program’s start.

UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke sent ABC-7 a statement in response, “As part of our review of the discount card provided to us, we compared it with our already-in-place discounts afforded by our UMC Pharmacy. These discounts are already much more significant under the UMC Health Care Options, Care Plus and discount programs available through UMC. Additionally, UMC pharmacies do not have contracts with the vendor to take this card at this time.”

Escobar said that was a surprise to her, but that the program as a whole will still be a benefit to the county and residents.

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