(Springfield) – A new free prescription drug card offering discounts on generic and name-brand drugs is being offered to all Illinois residents.

The program, called Illinois Rx Card, is designed largely for people who are uninsured or underinsured, but even people with health insurance can use it on uncovered drugs, program director Mike Rogers says.

The average discount is 30 percent off the retail price, he said.

Illinois Rx Card, which has a name similar to state-run programs, is the venture of a private company that hopes to profit by steering customers to the pharmacies in its network, Rogers said.

"The program is fully funded through the pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies," he said.

Illinois Rx Card works with United Networks of America, a provider of value-added managed-care products and services, which processes claims through participating pharmacies, Rogers said.

The Illinois program has contracted with major chains including CVS. Walgreens, Dominick's, Hy-Vee, Kmart, Meijer, Jewel-Osco, Pamida, Schnucks, Shopko, Walgreens, Target and Wal-Mart, plus 95 percent of the independent drugstores, and is accepted at more than 56,000 pharmacies across the U.S., Rogers said.

Pharmacies also enroll in the program free, he said.

While insured people can use the cards, too, Rogers said, they can't use the cards in combination with their insurance. It's one or the other.

The discount cards are being promoted through doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and chambers of commerce, but anybody can print one on the company's website at www.illinoisrxcard.com.

What if you don't have access to a computer? People who go to CVS or Dominick's drugstores don't even need a card to get the discount, Rogers said. They just have to tell the person at the pharmacy counter that they want their prescription to be processed under the Illinois Rx Card program.

Illinois Rx Club had its official launch earlier this week in Springfield but had a soft launch about six months ago by putting up the website and not promoting the program, Rogers said.

"We've had a great response so far," he added.