An all-new county program includes access to low-cost telemedicine services and increased discounts on prescription drugs.
BOISE, Idaho – If you live in Ada County, Idaho, read carefully. There’s a brand new county program that includes access to low-cost telemedicine services and increased discounts on prescription drugs.
Ada County recently switched to the Live Healthy discount program, a service used by counties nationwide. Ada County Commissioner Kendra Kenyon said having healthy residents not only impacts the individual, but the community as a whole.
“The pandemic and now inflation and escalating health care costs, I just think it’s so important that people get the mental health treatment and the medical treatment that they need,” Kenyon said. . “I think that’s definitely a role that community members can and should play.”
Commissioner Kenyon said she heard about the Live Healthy Discount program at a National Association of Counties (NACO) meeting. A major selling point is the cost to taxpayers.
“It’s actually part of our fees that we pay to be a member of NACO. So it cost the county, the taxpayers nothing,” Kenyon said.
It’s true, the service is free for taxpayers. Kenyon describes the need in our community right now as “huge”.
“Unfortunately, I think Idaho has really fallen behind in terms of mental health identification and services,” Kenyon said. “We’ve really missed for decades here.”
Kenyon said she was passionate about the subject of creating affordable health services, which predates her work as a county commissioner.
“That’s the area I was in. I was director of therapy for a dual diagnosis hospital. I have been in private practice for years. I’ve worked with various hospitals here, and I really see a need,” Kenyon said. “I see people in trouble. I see children in difficulty.”
This was exemplified for Kenyon when she visited Ada County Jail.
“As you walk through the prison, they talk to the medical staff there. We learn that 70-80% of everyone in our prison has a drug or alcohol problem, depression or anxiety, and they are self-medicating,” Kenyon said. “So, now our prisons are full, and then a lot of these people, unfortunately, go to prison, IDOC. So it’s just spiraling, and you know, it’s sad to see that people don’t get help early on when they need it, and the cost is exorbitant. So we can save a lot of money. I don’t know why we don’t invest more upfront in the services we need to provide here.”
To be clear, the Live Healthy program is not health insurance. The program provides Ada County residents with access to 24/7 telemedicine services provided through the low-cost health rebate program. This includes unlimited calls with a clinician with no co-pays.
Residents can also get an average savings of 30% on prescriptions for themselves and their pets through the no-cost discount program.
The prescription drug discount card is free of charge. The Health Discount program, which again includes the no-co-pay telemedicine program, costs $5.95 per month.
Commissioner Kenyon believes that investing in programs like this can be very beneficial at the individual and community level.
“I think if we can be proactive and we can try to help people and they can help themselves earlier, you know, upstream, then we’re not going to tackle the issues that we see in our community,” Kenyon said.
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