They say that information is key to making informed decisions. Well, today New Yorkers have two new programs that will allow them to comparison shop for their prescription drugs on-line as well as get a free credit report from the "Big Three" national credit agencies.
During this past legislative session, a little known bill passed both Houses of the State Legislature, and was signed into law by Governor Pataki, that will require prescription drug prices to be posted online to give consumers easy access to the drug price list. This new law will allow our senior citizens, to electronically comparison shop for prescription drugs on the Internet and help them save substantial amounts of money. The new law will further help consumers by enabling them to review these prices on the Internet to locate nearby pharmacies and comparison shop from the comfort of their home or office. This online prescription drug price list, which would be the first of its kind in the entire nation, will benefit New Yorkers who are not in good health or simply do not have the time to go into every pharmacy in their community and request a drug price list. I firmly believe that this law will result in more competition, lower prices, and savings for seniors.
The Prescription Drug List can be accessed each week at the New York State Department of Health’s web site (www.health.state.ny.us). Additionally, signs will be posted in pharmacies notifying consumers that the price list is online and the address of the web site. The web site will be searchable by zip code and other factors.
Also, New York consumers now have the ability to receive a free credit history report beginning on September 1, 2005. A recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s consumer reporting companies.
A credit report contains information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. There are three nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a toll-free telephone number which you can access to receive your free credit report history at 877-322-8228.
Remember, it is very important that national credit reporting agencies have accurate, complete and up-to-date information on you as it may affect whether you can get a loan — and how much you will have to pay to borrow money. Additionally, it will help to make sure that Identity Theft is not occurring to you and that your financial security remains intact.
I strongly recommend that New Yorkers take advantage of these free pro-consumer programs.