Chandler has launched a health initiative to improve the wellness of its residents, which will begin with a free prescription discount card that could reduce the cost of medications by up to 60 percent.
The city won’t spend any tax dollars to offer the program, and it stands to make a small amount of money through royalties provided by the discount card’s provider.
Chandler is offering the discount through Coast2Coast Rx, which has introduced the same concept to cities and counties across the nation in the last few years.
While the card is available to anybody in the U.S., Coast2Coast is working with cities to help market the program and to tie it into other health initiatives.
Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said the concept is especially needed at a time when the weak economy has left many people uninsured or in need of more options to fight stress and improve their wellness. Tibshraeny said the City Council’s interest was partially personal because its members are so into their own physical fitness.
He said elected officials will become more involved with health initiatives, just as he planned to address a yoga class at a city recreation center to tout the discount card.
“We’ll start promoting physical fitness more than we’ve been doing before,” Tibshraeny said.
The discount card has the most potential to help the uninsured. That group ranges from 50 million to 60 million in the U.S., said Laura Garcia, Coast2Coast’s national sales director.
The card can be used to purchase medications or products not covered by existing insurance plans. And it provides discounts on dental, vision, hearing services, lab and imaging tests, diabetes supplies, equipment and veterinary services.
“That’s almost a mini-health plan right there,” Garcia said.
The card is accepted by most pharmacies in the U.S. It is available at most Chandler city facilities, at www.coast2coastrx.com or by calling (800) 931-8872. There is no eligibility requirement.
Chandler benefits from any cardholders who use it to make purchases. When residents sign up online or pick up a card with the city logo, a code triggers Coast2Coast to give Chandler a $1.25 royalty. There was no immediate estimate on how much Chandler could make a year or how much city residents in total would save. However, Coast2Coast said the card is available in the similarly-sized Glendale, where cardholders save about $25,000 a month. And, Phoenix has offered the same program since 2010. Coast2Coast said it’s in discussions with several other Valley cities.
Coast2Coast is able to provide royalties in part by capturing some processing fees pharmacies charge, and also from additional purchases that cardholders are expected to make from vendors.
Tibshraeny said the card is the first item in a Health Connect initiative that will include other offerings in the next few months. The city will promote fitness routines, mental health and amenities the city offers.
Tibshraeny also is in talks with the Chandler Regional Medical Center and the Chandler Unified School District to coordinate health initiatives.
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