If you can't wait for Congress to pass the proposed healthcare bill, there's a glimmer of hope here in the Islands. United Networks of America (UNA)—a discount care services corporation—introduced the Hawaii RX Card earlier this month. The card is part of a statewide discount prescription assistance program for uninsured residents.
Despite the Prepaid Health Care Act, enacted in 1974, which mandated that employers provide insurance to full-time employees, more than 200,000 residents in Hawaii do not have insurance. Now instead of paying outrageous prescription costs, the uninsured can apply online for the free program.
The Hawaii RX Card program touts that members can save between 10 to 75 percent on medications such as Ambien, Viagra and Zoloft, as well as narcotics such as oxycodone. The more than 50,000 participating pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies allow for the steep discounts. For example, a Nexium prescription costs $195.40 without insurance, but with the card costs $157.76.
There are no income requirements to apply for the card and members can use Hawaii RX Card along with other programs such as the Health Savings Account or Medicare Part D.
It may sound too good to be true, but the Hawaii Medical Association and the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association support the program and are planning to set up card distribution sites across the state. Hawaii is not the only state to launch programs similar to the RX card, UNA also offers discount program services in states such as New York, California, Arizona and Louisiana.
Although the card does not offer discounts on doctor appointments and hospital visits, it at least allows more people better access to medications they need.