A new statewide discount drug card program called the Iowa Drug Card is now making it easier for the uninsured and underinsured of Iowa to pay for prescription drugs. The Iowa Drug Card can be used at major pharmacies such as Hy-Vee, K-mart, Walgreens and several other independent pharmacies.

The card, a plant of the United Networks of Americas Freedrugcard.us campaign, will save Iowans up to 75 percent on prescription drugs, although the average savings is around 30 percent.

What youll save is on a prescription to prescription basis, said Jeff Faber, the pharmacist in-charge at the Hy-Vee Pharmacy in Le Mars. The drug companies and the pharmacy have contracted how much they'll allow to be discounted.

Those who qualify to use the Iowa Drug Card are as follows:

  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured
  • Health insurance coverage with no prescription bene•??ts
  • Individuals who do not qualify for publicly funded programs such as Medicaid or Medicare
  • Individuals who receive their medications through charity care providers such as 340B
  • Those in the gap period of Medicare part D

Attaining the card is simple and completely free. Just visit iowadrugcard.com, type in your •??rst and last name, and email address, then print the card. It can be used as many times as needed. The Iowa Drug Card has no age or income restrictions.

Although the Iowa Drug Card is a big help for purchasing prescription drugs, it is not a type of insurance.

The main reason this card is available is to help offset the rising prescription costs.

Prescription prices always seem to be on the rise, Faber said. Companies are always trying to make lower-priced generics, but physicians want to use newer drugs for their patients that work better. The problem is insurance companies might not want to pay for the newer, more expensive drugs, so this card will be a way to take the edge off the higher priced prescriptions.

The card can also be used by those who have prescription coverage, but dont have coverage for the speci•??c drug they need.

This program is made possible through the support of pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, said Ryan Jumonville, president and CEO of United Networks of America. The pharmacies have agreed to discount their medications...the (Iowa Drug Card) program is funded through a small administration fee worked out through agreements with pharmacies and rebates from drug companies.