Phoenix is offering a new prescription drug discount card aimed at reducing medical costs for the uninsured, while at the same time raising revenue for the city budget.

There are no fees or eligibility requirements to sign up for or use the Coast2Coast Rx Card, but users could save big on the cost of prescriptions, said Marty Dettelbach, chief marketing officer with the Florida-based Financial Marketing Concepts Inc., with whom the city is contracting to operate the program.

Dettelbach said customers generally could save 1 percent to 2 percent on some new drugs, between 15 percent and 20 percent for existing brand name drugs, and 40 percent to 65 percent on generics.

"There are a lot of generics that really get up there in terms of savings," he said.

Everyone involved benefits from the program, Dettelbach said. Participating pharmacies, which collect a dispensing fee of $5 to $10 on each prescription, agree to keep only about $3 of the fee, while giving most of the rest to Coast2Coast Rx, he said.

"The pharmacy is paying us a marketing fee to drive in business," Dettelbach said.

Phoenix receives $1 from each transaction, he said.

"The city's endorsement and credibility is really important," Dettelbach said.

Jon Brodsky, the city's spokesman for the program, said it does not cost the city any money.

"No city dollars are being expended for this program," he said.

Instead, it raises money for the city's general fund, Brodsky said.

"We won't know how much revenue until we see how many people participate," he said. "We would hope to generate tens of thousands of dollars a year from this program."

The program is not tied in with national health care reform laws passed earlier this year by the federal government, he said.

Cynthia Brown, recreation coordinator for the Pecos Community Center at 48th Street and Pecos Road in Ahwatukee Foothills, said there has been moderate interest so far in applications for the card.

"I've seen people come and pick them up," she said. "We just put them up this week."

Dettelbach said the card cannot be used in conjunction with prescription insurance. It can, however, be used by the uninsured or underinsured, by those with high prescription deductibles or whose plans may not cover some drugs, and by seniors facing the Medicare part D "donut hole," he said. It also covers many pet prescriptions.

In other areas of the country already using the program, it has saved cardholders an average of 45 percent this year on the cost of prescription drugs, Dettelbach said. The card is free and may be used at all pharmacy chains and most independent pharmacies in Phoenix and throughout the nation. It includes more than 60,000 drugs in its formulary.

"Prescription drug discounts will help ease some of the financial burden Phoenix families are facing at a time when they need it the most," said Mayor Phil Gordon.

Applications are available at most pharmacies, city of Phoenix libraries, community centers, public golf courses, senior centers and customer service counters. Residents also can print the Rx card, check their prescription prices and view the nearest participating locations at Go to the "Print Free Card" menu button, click on cities in the dropdown list, then click on Phoenix.

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With reform in place, what are the primary Part D considerations for employers?

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