Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hoboken’s Prescription Drug Plan: An Overview - by Scott Siegel

Kudos to Scott Siegel who performed his research and gave me the first half of this piece.....

Hoboken’s Prescription Drug Plan: An Overview

Recently the Zimmer administration joined with the prestigious Heinz Foundation to announce a drug prescription program that is available not just to seniors, but to each and every citizen of Hoboken. The plan will be accepted (at least initially) by all Hoboken Pharmacies. It promises savings of up to 80%. 45% is considered to be the average. Imaging and tests savings are estimated at 50-80% and even your pets are included. You can pick up a card online (, at most pharmacies, City Hall, the library, Multi-Service Center, Housing Authority and HUMC. Hoboken 411 (aka Mason 411 for its undying support of all things Beth Mason) published a story graphically depicted as “Scam Alert”. They did mention that Hoboken will receive a 50 cent fee on each transaction. Rather than insinuating that this is some sort of underhanded slush fund, I think it shows once again how fiscally conservative our mayor is. Another small benefit for our beleaguered tax payers.

411 also mentions two “better” cards and asked Hobokenites to compare them. Well, I did. The first: TogetherRxAccess only accepts people who earn $45K per year or less. The Hoboken Card as stated is open to 100% of us. There are no restrictions such as health concerns. The second is: YourRxCard. This plan offers 0 to 75% in savings. What they don’t tell you is that that card can only be used in 2 Hoboken pharmacies- Baron’s and Albini’s. The Hoboken Card covers 7 independent pharmacies (that I could find) and chains such as CVS, Rite Aid, ShopRite and Walgreens.

On the Internet I was able to locate 18 other plans. Two had income limits similar to TogetherRxAccess, while 5 had differences between generics and brand names. Only one comes close: RxDrugCard. This card does not include Walgreens, although it’s possible that is due to the fact that it’s so new. The difference is that this one charges an annual fee of $45 (single) to $50 (family) while the Hoboken Card is free! Please look at the spreadsheet comparison so you can understand how valuable this free card could be for you, your family and especially your pets.

- Scott Siegel

Additional Background - The Editor

Here goes Perry Klaussen Again and Again! ....

In Hoboken 411's piece entitled Hoboken Prescription Fiasco (, Perry Klaussen or his angry little ghost writer who goes by the moniker channel 78 anchorman came up with the assertions:
Hoboken 411 pointed out that in a Google search there were claiming discounts even higher than the “Coast2Coast RX” plan the city chose to partner with. So why not sign up to all of them and compare “savings?”

Actually, not bad advice and the article went on to mention two plans specifically:
TogetherRxAccess ( and
Your Rx Card (

Neither of these plans were accepted in all or even most Hoboken pharmacies and TogetherRxAccess was only available to lower income residents. The plan the City chose is accepted in all Hoboken pharmacies and is available to all Hoboken residents.

Perry Klaussen: Declining website traffic and
ever declining credibility.
Hoboken 411 went on to make the following statement:
"The city DID NOT mention in their press release – is that they paid get a commission for every single prescription filled (around 50 cents or so). Why didn’t they mention it? Were they planning on pocketing the money? Don’t you think that if this prescription plan was going to benefit taxpayers, they’d include it in their press release? What about an audit? How do you know the city will report every penny collected? Are they going to “under-report” the commission so that someone can make some nice pocket change on the side? Too many potential loopholes for my comfort level."

Actually, in the two media advisories that went out before the press release it was clearly stated that Hoboken would get 50 cent per transaction. There was absolutely no attempt of the City hide anything and several other real news sources pointed that out. Of course Perry and his declining site are not considered part of the media by the Administration so he likely did not get the media advisory or chose to ignore it.
This Rx Discount plan is no panacea but for even people with good plans the larger formulary could give consumers choice and savings when their drug is not in their main plan's formulary. And for those without insurance, some discount is better than none.

WTF is up at Hoboken 411?

The lack of credibility of Hoboken  411which doesn't get everything wrong, just the most important details has become more and more eveident. His onesidedness and censorship of comments have formed a perfect ani-trinity and sent that website into a Beth Masonesque death spiral. At first it was the censorship, then it was the editorial slant, now even the factual validity of the content has suffered as more and more contributors have been driven away. The only consistent contributor that allegedly stays on, has by his own public admission a weak math background and apparently no college degree. It shows in the piss poor argumentation on his website on a consistent basis. It is one thing to get up and blather on for 5 minutes with half truths on Channel 78 but it is another to be able to have your argument hold up in writing over time. When confronted, Hoboken 411's diminutive and angry ghost writer leaves his screen names and goes into his little Internet shell like a tortise in his little shell.  A Beth Mason electoral defeat in May or June could send this site the proverbial nail in the coffin. Howver, like a bad zombie movie Hoboken 411 could stay animated for a while longer although officially declared dead. What a blown opportunity. To think I used to really enjoy that site. Oh , what a few years of bad decisions has done! (And I am not just talking about Beth Mason's political career). ◦