United Methodists using drug discount card save thousands
Aug. 10, 2004
By Fran Coode Walsh*
Tenn. (UMNS)-In early March, the United Methodist Association of Health
and Welfare Ministries announced a partnership with prescription drug
and health discounter DestinationRx to offer a free card with discounts
of up to 50 percent on medicine and other supplies.
date, a total of $1.2 million in prescription drugs has been sold to
United Methodist Association cardholders. The total savings was 28.8
percent, or $348,728.63
Rev. Mearle Griffith, president and chief executive officer of the
Dayton, Ohio-based association, says he’s pleased by the response. "One
of the great satisfactions to me is to know that persons who needed help
are getting help. Some people are now buying food who once had to make a
choice between paying for groceries or paying for their prescriptions."
estimated 44 million Americans do not have adequate prescription drug
coverage and Griffith notes that this is a critical issue for 3 to 4
million United Methodists. "We’re an extension of the church and we have
been concerned that there are people falling through the cracks, who do
not have prescription drug benefits or who do not have health
insurance," he said.
has heard from several parish nurses who said the plan compliments
their efforts to assist people with health care challenges.
Robin Burgamy of Michigan wrote Griffith to say that "even though my
husband and I are middle class and employed, our health insurance
premiums rose 300 percent last year. … We were forced to shop for new
insurance, but because we are adopting a baby girl, no private insurer
will insure us at all for six months. … We were forced to get Medicaid
for our baby girl. … We never thought we’d be without good insurance or
drug coverage, and this has been alarming for us. … This couldn’t have
come at a better time for us, and I know you are helping other families
the denomination held its General Conference - its top legislative
assembly - last April, Griffith was approached by dozens of United
Methodists who said they were appreciative of the program, which had
already benefited their family members. The United Methodist Church is
the first denomination to offer such a benefit and other traditions have
also inquired about the process, hoping to set up similar plans within
offer is not limited to church members, however. Griffith reports that
many local churches have chosen to use the card as a mission project by
identifying people in their congregation and community who could use the
discount, and helping them complete the applications to receive the
card. His goal is to continue spreading the word about the benefit
across the denomination and local United Methodist congregations.
to DestinationRx, 31,625 people have enrolled in the plan through the
United Methodist Association. The discounter has contracts with 30,000
pharmacies across the country, including Target and Eckerd. Prescription
drugs can be purchased at local participating pharmacies. Other items,
including prescription drugs, contact lenses or even medicine for pets
can be ordered online by logging on to www.destinationrx.com.
There are a number of ways to enroll in the program. Those interested may go to the Web site, www.destinationrx.com/save,
or send their name, address, telephone number and birthdate (optional)
to: DestinationRx Member Services, 2245 Enterprise Parkway, Twinsburg,
Ohio 44087. The toll-free information number is (800) 379-9040.
Enrollees must use the group code of UMA001 on the enrollment form.
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*Walsh is coordinating producer of UMTV, a unit of United Methodist News Service.
News media contact Fran Coode Walsh at (615) 742-5470, or email@example.com .