Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and county Freeholder President, Blonnie R. Watson launched the new Essex County Wellness Discount Program on June 10.

The Wellness Program is open to all county residents regardless of age or income. The free program offers participants a wide range of discounts for prescription drugs, hearing exams, hearing aids, vision exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses, Lasik eye surgery, dental care, diabetic supplies and pet medications.

The County Executive welcomed the work of the freeholders.

"I commend Freeholder President Blonnie Watson and the entire Board for bringing the program to the county," said DiVincenzo in an e-mail to the Item of Millburn and Short Hills last week. "Especially with the cost of health care rising, this Wellness Program is a welcome resource that will make prescription drugs and health, vision and dental care more affordable."

The program provides residents with a drug discount card that could bring savings of 10 to 75 percent off prescription drug costs. All residents have to do is present the discount card along with their prescriptions to be filled to their pharmacist.

Millburn Deputy Mayor Sandra Haimoff hasn't seen a broad discount program like this in the county until now. She says there are union programs and profession discounts that target a certain audience, but she is thrilled that this program is open to all residents.

"I think this is coming at a good time for people," said Haimoff. "With the economy being what it is anything that can be done without costing the taxpayer is a positive thing."

The program was introduced to help the uninsured residents of the county, but the card can be used by the insured to get discounts on medications not covered by their insurance provider.

Haimoff suggests that the program is of no cost to taxpayers in Essex County because the companies included in the Wellness Program are looking for more business countywide.

Most major pharmacy chains including CVS, Rite-Aid, K-Mart, Walgreen's and Target will accept the card. The card can also be used as a Medicare Part D supplement for discount prescriptions not covered by Medicare. A bonus is that the wellness card also includes discounts for pet prescription drugs.

The Wellness Discount Program also includes a number of offerings for free including USHearingPlan.com and Choice Plus Dental Plan.

To receive a card and get more information, visit www.essexcountynj.org/wellnessdiscount.