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Official: No plans to expand Golden Mountaineer program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There are no plans to make a prescription drug discount program offered to participants in the Golden Mountaineer card program available to all West Virginia residents, according to the chief of the Bureau of Senior Services.Commissioner Robert Roswall said part of the issue would be logistical, since West Virginia's drug discount is incorporated into the Golden Mountaineer card program, which is offered free of charge to state residents age 60 and older.That's unlike Ohio, which announced last week that it is expanding eligibility for its Best Rx drug discount program to all Ohio residents, regardless of age.Previously, the drug discount plan had been available to Ohioans age 60 who received that state's Golden Buckeye card, as well as to disabled Ohioans and families with incomes of 300 percent of the federal poverty level or less.
Roswall said the bureau does not have the ability or resources to issue a separate card to extend the drug discounts to West Virginians who are not eligible for Golden Mountaineer cards."That would not be something to come out of this office," he said. "More likely, that would have to come out of the [state Department of Health and Human Resources]."According to the Ohio Department of Aging, the Best Rx program has saved seniors and other qualifying families and individual more than $56 million on over 3.5 million prescriptions since the program began in 2004.The Golden Mountaineer card was introduced by then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller in 1980, primarily to provide senior discounts at restaurants and retail stores around the state. The program had faded in the late 1990s, but then-Gov. Bob Wise revamped it in 2001, expanding prescription drug discounts available through the card as part of his administration's efforts to curb soaring drug costs.
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