With the media buzz of the summer escalating over health care reform, it's never too early to think about what you could do to mitigate health care costs where they hit the hardest: prescription medication.

The Oklahoma Drug Card is a prescription discount card free to all Oklahomans, regardless of income, age or any other criteria. This card can be downloaded at the www.oklahomadrugcard.com. If you don't have access to a printer, Kmart has agreed to print them for free, or you can always print them at the nearest public library.

Mary Collins, Tahlequah, downloaded the card at the library, and uses it for all her and her husband's prescriptions.

"We have some insurance, but not prescription assistance," she said. "We take blood pressure and heart medication, and it gets expensive."

As part of the United Networks of American out of Louisiana, the card provides an average savings of 30 percent at more than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies. Most medications are covered under the program, and savings can be as high as 75 percent in some cases.

There are 237 participating pharmacies in the state, including Walgreens, Kmart, Drug Warehouse and CVS Pharmacy.

Local pharmacies that accept the card include Cherokee Hills Pharmacy, Drug Warehouse, Reasor's Pharmacy, Tahlequah Drug Co., TMC Pharmacy, Walmart Pharmacy and Walgreens.

Cheryl Bird, at Cox Pharmacy in Tahlequah, said they have their own prescription assistance program and therefore don't accept the Oklahoma Drug Card.

"It's called the Cox Wellness Club, and it's free to sign up," Bird said. "All through the month of September, you get a bag when you enroll, and whatever you can put in the bag you can get 20 percent off of the total price."

However, the program doesn't offer immediate savings; it's based on point redemption. For every $1 spent you earn 100 points, and then only 1,000 points can be redeemed per transaction.

Nathan Terrell, pharmacy technician with Drug Warehouse, said when the program first started, many people were using it.

"I guess it was just out there in the media and people came in to sign up," Terrell said. "But since the buzz died down, I haven't had a lot of people new signing up."

Terrell said the program is great, especially for the uninsured.

"It can save you a lot of money," he said.

All of the participating pharmacies and the discounts for particular medications can be found on the program's website. Even if you have insurance, prescriptions may be cheaper under this program, so be sure to check online.

Unlike others, such as the Walgreen drug card program, there are no fees with this program, and your account cannot be canceled without your consent.

And this is not a gimmick; drug stores want people to come in and buy soap, shampoo, milk, tissues, so they are willing to sell the drugs cheaper to get the foot traffic.