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Budish Renews Commitment to Money-Saving United Way Partnership


Media Contacts:
Donisha Greene, (216) 443-7075; dgreene@cuyahogacounty.us

Prescription assistance program connecting the community to free or low-cost medication programs

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and the Cuyahoga County Health and Human Service Department have committed to continue funding to United Way 2-1-1 for the Cuyahoga MedRefer Program. This year, the program saved Cuyahoga citizens $1.1M in medication costs.

United Way 2-1-1 is a free service that helps people find, understand and access community resources 24 hours a day, every day. The MedRefer Program, a service of 2-1-1, helps fight the high cost of prescription drugs by connecting Cuyahoga County residents to a hands-on specialist that will provide access to medication available for free or low cost based on insurance status, income and/or medical condition.

“It’s critical to provide services that keep families healthy and saves them money”, said County Executive Budish. “Our residents face many challenges when it comes to health care and we’re working to help them save money on their medical costs.”

In 2015 the program served 51% Cleveland residents, 49% suburban residents, saving Cuyahoga citizens $950,000 worth of free medication and $1.1 M in total medication savings, putting the money right back in the pockets of residents so they can focus on getting the care they need.

“At United Way, we are continually working to put lifesaving information in the hands of the community,” said United Way President and CEO Bill Kitson. “Together with the County, we’ll be able to continue providing an invaluable service to those who need it most.”

Since 2008, the program has helped Cuyahoga residents access $5.6M worth of medication savings and an average annual savings of $3000 per prescription.

How the Program Works
  • Dial 2-1-1 with a list of medications that are unaffordable
  • United Way 2-1-1 transfers patient to a MedRefer Specialist for medication needs
  • MedRefer Specialist matches the medication list to available free or low cost medication assistance programs
  • Prefilled applications are mailed or emailed to patient for signature & to attach required documents such as proof of income
  • MedRefer Specialist calls patient to confirm receipt of application and to answer questions
  • Patient takes application & documents to doctor to complete and submit to each drug company
  • Patient and/or doctor are notified of eligibility & enrollment by drug company
  • Drug companies typically process applications & ship medication within 2-4 weeks