Wednesday, January 7, 2004
One year ago today, as my first official act on my first official day in the governor's office, I signed an executive order that made prescription drugs more affordable for Medicare eligible seniors.
I decided that this would be my first act as Arizona's twenty-first governor because I knew it was something this state could accomplish in an area where the federal government was failing.
Under last year's plan, which went into effect in June, individual seniors reported savings as much as $1,700 dollars. The program's combined savings amounted to more than $1 million in less than seven months. This is good, but I know Arizona can do better.
That's why today - one year after my original executive order - I am unveiling my new and improved prescription drug savings plan - the Copper Card plan.
The Copper Card fills the gaps left by the newly adopted Medicare program, and it has the capacity to serve even more seniors than last year's plan. But its best feature is its simplicity.
If you live in Arizona, are disabled or over the age of 65 and Medicare eligible, you will receive a Copper Card. Period.
When cardholders go to purchase prescription drugs and present their cards at one of 500 participating pharmacies statewide, they will get an immediate discount. Period.
And those who are eligible for Copper Cards do not have to fill out any paperwork to receive them. Cards will begin to appear in your mailboxes this month. Period.
Access to quality, affordable healthcare should not be a luxury reserved for the elite. Nor should it be something that's difficult to use and even more difficult to understand.
The Copper Card is easy. It's easy to access and easy to use. And I believe it will have a noticeable impact on the pocketbooks of all Arizona seniors.
There is no formulary under the Copper Card. All prescription drugs are eligible. And, discounts apply to brand name and generic drugs, with savings ranging from 15 to 55 percent.
Savings for Copper Cardholders are expected to average $13.40 per prescription. And that is $13.40 that will never leave your pocket.
Furthermore, the Copper Card is free. The enrollment fee that existed with the previous program has been eliminated. If you are an Arizona senior or disabled Medicare eligible and have an Arizona driver's license, an Arizona ID or a car registered in Arizona, you can already claim membership in the Copper Card Program.
If you meet the criteria for the Copper Card, but don't have a driver's license, ID or registered vehicle, you can easily get your card by registering for it online or by phone.
My office is also working with senior and advocacy groups to make sure that everyone who's eligible for a Copper Card gets a Copper Card.
This plan was developed in Arizona for Arizonans, and I'd like to thank our Rx America for their partnership in last year's plan and in this one.
I'd also like to thank drug companies that are making low-income Copper Cardholders eligible for even greater discounts on specific products. For example, through the Eli Lilly Company's "Lilly Answers" program---and the Copper Card---our Arizona seniors will be able to purchase any Lilly pharmaceutical for a flat $12.00 administrative fee.
The Copper Card program will fill in the gaps left by Medicare. It works with the Medicare Program, so none of your existing Medicare benefits will change, but it also provides for the many Arizonans who have no prescription drug coverage at all.
The Copper Card Plan promises to be one of the best prescription drug programs offered in any state. When compared to it's counterparts in states like Maine, Ohio and West Virginia, it boasts lower dispensing fees, higher discount percentages, and the best dollar-for-dollar average savings.
That is why, as one of my first acts of my second year in office, I am proud to introduce the Copper Card prescription drug discount plan. I believe it will create a healthier population for a new Arizona.
CoppeRx Prescription Plan Rollout
Date: Jan. 7, 2004