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Robert D. Gorman, right, CEO of the United Way of Northern New York, and David B. Warner, President of ProAct, announce a new partnership that will distribute ProAct's discount prescription card through the United Way's nonprofit organizations in St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties. The announcement was made Wednesday at the St. Lawrence Community Development Program office in Canton. Photo: United Way of Northern New York.
Robert D. Gorman, right, CEO of the United Way of Northern New York, and David B. Warner, President of ProAct, announce a new partnership that will distribute ProAct's discount prescription card through the United Way's nonprofit organizations in St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties. The announcement was made Wednesday at the St. Lawrence Community Development Program office in Canton. Photo: United Way of Northern New York.

Prescription drugs at a discount

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Prescription drugs can get expensive, especially for people without health insurance. There are discount cards available at local government offices, but a lot of people don't know about them. As Zach Hirsch reports, United Way of Northern New York is working to change that.

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Reported by

Zach Hirsch
Reporter and Producer

For a lot of families, the word “expensive” translates into tough decisions. Norma Cary says when it comes to medicine, people who are struggling financially can’t always afford to worry about their long-term health.

"Especially with the elderly, they won’t fill their prescriptions. It’s food or prescriptions, food or prescriptions."

Cary is the Executive Director of the St. Lawrence Community Development Program.

"They have to weigh what they’re going to buy, and often it is the prescription that gets set aside," she said.

Yesterday, the United Way of Northern New York announced a strategy to make decisions like that one less complicated.

Bob Gorman, the CEO, said that people who frequent places like neighborhood centers and other United Way-carrying agencies will start seeing new prescription discount cards being offered.

"Take five," he said. "Use ‘em for your brother, sister, mother. Send them across the country, whatever you need to do. We’ve got plenty."

The cards will help people who either have no health insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover a drug they need. There’s no application process, and no income limit. As long as you have a doctor’s prescription, the cards work like coupons.

Local governments already had these cards, but a lot of people didn’t know that. Gorman says the counties didn’t do a whole lot of outreach. To make it easier, the United Way of Northern NY is bringing the cards directly to its service providers.

"This gives them one more opportunity to help people who are in crisis right now," Gorman said.

The program is currently rolling out in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties.

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