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Informer: NACo discount card for noncovered medicine

Last Modified: Sunday, April 21, 2013 9:37 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Why are people on Medicare Part D unable to use a discount card for their drugs? I went to CVS and they told me I couldn’t use the card with Medicare.

If your Medicare plan — or any insurance plan, for that matter — doesn’t cover the drug you need, you can use the card. If your plan does cover it, you can’t.

Those are the rules, said a spokeswoman for CVS Caremark, which partners with the National Association of Counties to provide free prescription discount cards nationwide.

“While we offer a number of discount programs, they cannot be combined with other coverage, similar to the way retail businesses will not combine multiple discounts,” Maura Mone wrote in an email. “For this reason, NACo cards are not permitted to be used on Medicare Part D prescriptions.”

According to a CVS Caremark news release issued in November, the NACo program has saved participants more than $500 million on prescription drugs since it began in 2004.

More than 1,400 counties — including Beauregard, Calcasieu and Vernon parishes — take part in the program, which reportedly offers an average discount of 24 percent.

For more information on the NACo program, call 877-321-2652.


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the United States has 3,141 counties and county equivalents. A breakdown:

3,007 counties.

16 boroughs and 11 census areas in Alaska.

64 parishes here in Louisiana.

42 “independent cities” — one each in Maryland, Missouri and Nevada, and the rest in Virginia.

1 district, the District of Columbia.

Additionally, the commonwealths and territories have areas that the USGS says are “generally county equivalents”:

78 municipalities in Puerto Rico.

2 districts in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

9 election districts in Guam.

17 districts in the Northern Mariana Islands.

5 districts in American Samoa.


Goal of CMS survey to improve service

Today I got in the mail a notice saying that the CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was going to send us a questionnaire to fill out.

I was under the impression that Medicare and Medicaid could not ask any questions about your health. Is that true?

Bob Moos, a CMS spokesman, said officials are conducting a survey of randomly selected Medicare recipients “to learn more about the care and services they receive.”

“All information provided will be held in confidence and is protected by the Privacy Act,” he wrote in an email. “The information will not be shared with anyone other than authorized persons at CMS and Thoroughbred Research Group, the survey research organization assisting CMS with the survey.”

Medicare enrollees aren’t obligated to take part in the survey, and neither their participation nor their abstention will affect their benefits, Moos said.

“However, the respondents’ knowledge and experiences will help other people with Medicare make more informed choices. ...,” he wrote.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that enrollees get high-quality care at a reasonable price. One of the ways we can fulfill that responsibility is to find out directly from beneficiaries about the care they are currently receiving under the Medicare program.”


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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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