12 On Your Side: Are prescription drug cards in the mail a trick or treat?

News 12 at 6 o'clock / October 31, 2013

AIKEN, SC (WRDW)

Thelma Thornton says she received several mailings with prescription cards in recent days. "It looked really official to me like it came from the government, " says Thornton.

She is not alone. Rodney Maurice was wondering what it was all about too. "I'm like you seeing United States Prescription Discounts and the envelope saying from Washington, D.C.,"says Maurice.

It looks like it is part of the Affordable Care Act, but it is not. Some News 12 viewers have reported receiving prescription savings cards in the mail. The cards promise to save users up to 75% on medicine. "I've just got them lying on the dining room table," says Thornton.

We showed the prescription cards to Tracie Mims at Family Pharmacy in Aiken. She says the cards offer little to no savings and only work for the uninsured.

We asked her if it was more of a trick than a treat when comparing the savings with the card to their own cash prices on various drugs.. "A trick," says Mims. While she is dressed for Halloween she also wants to dispel some myths about using some discount drug cards.

"If we submit a claim for that discount card it comes back close very close to our cash price. Sometimes more expensive than our cash price," says Mims.

For example, Hydrochlorothiazide is $5.34 at Family Pharmacy and using the U.S. Prescription Discounts card it totaled 30 cents more. Even a more expensive drug like Nexium is $245 at Family Pharmacy and with the U.S. Prescription Discounts card the savings was only about $1.

"All your personal information that you give to the pharmacy is subject to go to these insurance companies," says Mims. Including what kind of medications you take. We investigated the company and discovered the Washington, D.C. address is just post office box inside a UPS store.

The New York Better Business Bureau says the company name is Script Relief LLC which gets a C rating. The BBB says the company has these five alternate business names:

U..S. Prescription Discounts
Help Rx
National Prescription Savings Network
RxRelief
The Healthcare Alliance

"It submits to that discount card and they can know all the information about you," says Mims. Knowing this information now, Thelma Thornton says she knows what she will do with her cards. "I guess I will just throw them away," says Thornton.

According to its website the company says it respects your privacy but admits it is not responsible for how it's partner company privacy policies work or how those companies may use your information.

According to the pharmacist News 12 spoke with, personal information would not include social security numbers but would include an individual's age, date of birth, where they live and their phone number.

We left a message for the owner of the company but have not heard back yet.


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