March 26, 2018

Mayor Emanuel and City Clerk Valencia Announce RFP for Prescription Benefits

City seeking partner to provide a Discount Prescription Drug Program to Chicago residents through benefits card or CityKey

Mayor’s Press Office | 312.744.3334  


Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Clerk Anna Valencia today announced the City of Chicago will provide discounts on name brand and generic prescription drugs at no direct cost to the City or participating Chicago residents. This Discount Prescription Drug Program benefit will allow cardholders to present the number at their local pharmacy when purchasing common prescription drugs to see if they or the prescription qualifies to receive a discount, accessed with through their CityKey or a separate benefits card.

“Prescription drug prices are skyrocketing across the country, and here in Chicago we are going to help lower costs for consumers and save money for Chicago residents,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The price of a prescription should never be a barrier to any Chicagoan getting the medicine they need or achieving the health, well-being and quality of life they deserve.”

“At a time when we are all looking for ways to save extra money, adding this additional benefit to the card is another opportunity to create an even more robust program that will truly benefit all Chicago residents,” said City Clerk Anna Valencia. “The CityKey will not only allow you to ride the bus, and check out books, it can also help Chicago residents and families save big at the pharmacy counter, especially those who are currently unemployed and without health insurance or drug coverage.”

Participating residents have the option to have a prescription drug card number automatically printed on their CityKey, adding a fourth benefit to Chicago CityKey ID, or on a separate benefits card. The benefits program is designed with price transparency and consumer choice at the forefront. The vendor will be required to make prescription prices public on their website, ensuring residents can access and understand the value of the pharmacy card. Additionally, the program would need to be compatible with existing prescription and pharmacy programs to provide Chicago consumers every opportunity to save money and always pay the lowest cost for their prescriptions.

"Prescription medication costs present real barriers for many people, leaving many families with the unjust choice of either paying rent or buying medicine," said Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Chief Medical Officer Allison Arwady, M.D. "We are pleased to see the City offer residents the opportunity to get their medications at a discounted price. This is a critical benefit that helps reduce health disparities especially among those without health insurance."

Through this benefits program, the City looks to create a consumer friendly program that provides Chicago residents an excellent option to save on prescription medications. The City is seeking a vendor that will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining a large pharmacy network to ensure the program is accessible to all Chicagoans
  • Creating eligibility policies that allow for the maximum number of Chicago residents to utilize the Services (i.e. open to individuals regardless of age, income, ability or employment status)
  • Creating education and outreach materials describing the benefits and how the program works, etc.
  • Protecting the privacy of Chicago residents' information.

Responses to the RFP are due by Friday, April 13, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Questions will be due Friday, March 30, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. The RFP and related information is available at

Clerk Valencia and Mayor Emanuel launched the CityKey pilot in December 2017. To support the program’s implementation, the City’s 2017 and 2018 Budget allocated $1 million to the program. Upon being sworn-in, City Clerk Valencia launched a listening tour to solicit feedback about the Municipal ID program from constituents all across the city and has held over 50 roundtables to date. In April 2017, an ordinance solidifying the program was passed in City Council with overwhelming support. After testing the program, Clerk Valencia plans to make the card publically available to Chicago residents in April of 2018.

This Discount Prescription Drug Program builds on the City’s record of supporting expanding access to affordable, quality, health care insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided more residents across Chicago with access to quality health insurance. As of April 2016, almost 220,000 Chicago residents enrolled in expanded Medicaid; over 55% were males who are traditionally not insured under Medicaid. As of January 2016, over 310,000 Chicagoans were estimated to have signed up for insurance through the ACA Marketplace.


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