Bertie offers discount medical plan

Published 9:31 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

WINDSOR – There’s a TV advertisement that states if you’re having trouble paying for your prescription, a certain pharmaceutical company is there to help.

Now, for Bertie residents, the county is there to help.

On May 19 the county launched three new programs to help residents better manage the cost of prescription medications and health and dental services.

Provided by the National Association of Counties (NACo), Bertie is able to offer the discount programs to residents that will provide savings of up to 75 percent on prescriptions and 15-to-50 percent on health and dental services.

The free discount cards may be used by all Bertie County residents, regardless of age, income or existing health coverage.

At its most recent meeting May 18 at the Colerain Volunteer Fire Department, the county’s Board of Commissioners announced a “roll-out” of the materials available for citizens desiring more information about the program.

Earlier, Commissioner Ernestine “Byrd” Bazemore attended the NACo Legislative Conference in Washington, DC where the initiative was unveiled, and she brought the plan back to her fellow Commissioners for consideration.

“It is available to all of Bertie County,” Bazemore said.

The discount cards are available at the following locations: the Bertie County Manager’s Office, the Bertie County Department of Social Services, the Bertie County Cooperative Extension office, as well as the Bertie County Council on Aging office. The prescription and health discount cards can also be printed from the Internet at or by calling toll-free 1-877-321-2652.

“It’s really easy to do online, but we’re also working with Cooperative Extension, Social Services, and the Council on Aging to have it set up so folks can come into either of these three sites and sign-up for the program there,” said Clerk to the Board Sarah Tinkham, who pulled together a leadership group of those three departments.

“We want to get this spread out as far and wide as we can for our residents,” said County Manager Scott Sauer. “While it’s available online, our concern was that there are people who may not have access to a computer or a printer, but they can go to the DSS, Cooperative Extension and Aging and they’ll have staff that can help them walk through the form and then print it out for them.”

The programs can be used by residents who do not have insurance and by those whose insurance does not cover the prescriptions or services they need.  The program, however, is not health insurance.  There are no annual limits placed on use, no forms to fill out, no waiting periods, no age or income requirements and no medical condition restrictions.

“There’s no cost to the county, and we’ve identified practitioners in the county who will accept this coverage.” Commission Chairman, Ronald D. “Ron” Wesson said. “Many Bertie County families face difficulties in trying to pay for healthcare costs, and we are pleased to provide residents with an additional resource to assist in the cost of prescription, health, and dental needs. This program offers cost-saving options for the many families across Bertie, making it easier for them to afford the services that they need.”

“We just need to get the word out,” said Commission Vice-Chairman Tammy Lee.

The Prescription, Health and Dental Discount program, administered by CVS Caremark, include discounts on prescription medications, dental services, vision care, LASIK & PRK vision procedures, hearing aids & screenings, prepaid lab work, prepaid diagnostic imaging and diabetic supplies. A resident can begin saving on prescriptions as soon as he/she receives a discount card. For health services, memberships are available on a monthly or annual subscription basis for both individuals and families and discounts are available immediately upon enrollment.

The discount card can also be used to save money on pet medications that have to be purchased at a pharmacy. The card is accepted at 65,000 pharmacies nationwide, including all the major chains such as Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Giant, and Safeway. Participating pharmacies also include the majority of community-based, independent pharmacies.

“We are pleased to work with counties around the country to bring these important programs to their residents,” said NACo President Linda Langston, who is also a County Supervisor in Linn County, Iowa, in a news release. “Our overall goal is to help counties and their residents. These programs help us accomplish that goal.”