Earlier this month, the Waterford Board of Selectmen agreed to a program by Proact Inc that allows Waterford residents without health insurance to buy prescription drugs at an average discount of 45 percent.
The deal costs Waterford nothing, although the municipality endorsed the plan and cards through the program will have the Town of Waterford's seal on them. Proact Inc said it will take three-and-a-half years to break even by doing the deal, but is hoping it will get business from Waterford’s government in the future.
“We ask for (Waterford’s) approval because it shows validity in the eyes of the receiving public,” Proact Program Manager Erison Rodriguez said. “What’s in it for us is we are hoping to establish a relationship with the town.”
Rodriguez said the goal is by providing the card, it will create a relationship between Waterford and Proact. Then, when Waterford’s government looks for a town to administer its health insurance, there is a greater chance it will pick Proact, Rodriguez said.
First Selectman Dan Steward said he signed off on the deal because it helps uninsured residents. The program is run through the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and requires no work from the town and costs the town nothing , he said.
“(Proact) says it will do everything in this deal,” Steward said. "We'll see."
Proact, a large administrator of health insurance, has a deal with pharmacies to buy prescription drugs for much less than what an uninsured person would buy them for because it has a large pool of customers and negotiating leverage, Rodriguez said. This program allows uninsured Waterford residents to buy prescription drugs at similar prices to what Proact and other insurance companies pay for them, which is on average 45 percent cheaper than list prices, Rodriguez said.
Pharmacies agree to do this because it means they will have more traffic into the stores, Rodriguez said. Proact also makes a fee off of the sale as well, Rodriguez said.
Probably at the end of January, a card with the Town of Waterford’s seal on it will be sent out to everybody in the community, Rodriguez said. People must show that card to buy prescription drugs at the discounted cost, and it is only for people without medical insurance, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said it generally takes three-and-a-half years for Proact to pay for the mailing through the fees from the sales. Proact joins with Waterford to add “legitimacy” to the program, and to hope for future business with the Town of Waterford, he said.
Several other towns in Connecticut and other states have signed up for the program, Rodriguez said.