WASHINGTON, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Way Worldwide and FamilyWize Community Service Partnership, the nation's leading provider of free prescription discount cards, today announced the milestone achievement of having helped more than 5 million people get medicine they otherwise would not have been able to afford.
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"United Way is focusing on creating opportunity for all by improving health, education and financial stability," said Stacey Stewart, U.S. President of United Way Worldwide. "Our partnership with FamilyWize helps us advance that cause, and 1,000 United Ways across America are helping people be healthier and more productive."
Since 2005, FamilyWize, United Ways and pharmacies around the country have helped people stay healthy and productive in more than 95 percent of all U.S. counties. The partnership has provided free prescription discount cards to help people get the medicine they need, accounting for more than $500 million in direct savings on prescriptions.
Dan Barnes, president and CEO of FamilyWize, noted the significance of reaching the $500 million milestone, explaining that, "We set an ambitious goal for our partnership - to help families save $1 billion on the cost of medicines by the end of 2015. Now we're halfway there."
Studies show the partnership addresses a critical need. According to Consumer Reports, Americans who are financially strapped tend to skip medicine or lower their dosages. A New England Journal of Medicine article reported that the cost of medicine not taken exceeds $100 billion each year on avoidable hospitalizations and $177 billion on additional healthcare costs. And a Harvard University/CVS Caremark study shows that taking medicine as prescribed can save as much $7,800 per patient annually, money that otherwise would be spent on emergency rooms, hospitalizations, tests and other procedures. Financial complications that often arise when necessary medicine isn't taken as prescribed include absenteeism, job losses, mortgage forfeitures and bankruptcies.
"The United Way - FamilyWize partnership demonstrates how a grassroots initiative can help individuals and communities avoid such consequences," Barnes said. The community-based United Ways provide these free prescription discount cards to local social service agencies, faith-based organizations, local government and healthcare providers.
Another example of how the partnership promotes health and financial stability is the FamilyWize.org online resource area, featuring links to county health departments, community centers, food banks and food pantries, utility companies and housing assistance organizations.
To cite just one real-life experience, a Pennsylvania woman due to start a new position needed to use COBRA to extend health insurance coverage until her start date. She had asked her husband, who went to the pharmacy for her, to be sure and present the FamilyWize card because of the discounts it affords. The medication that would have cost $160.99 was reduced to $26.90 because of the FamilyWize discount, a savings of more than 83 percent.
Many local pharmacists and physicians also assist by providing cards or making their patients aware of how to get a card, either through the local United Way, the FamilyWize.org site or even via text by sending the word "family" to 700700 to receive a Rx discount card via text.
Savings are often as high as 75% off the price charged without the card, which can be used for any FDA approved medicine at most pharmacies. With average savings of about $20 per prescription, the FamilyWize card often means families can avoid an unpleasant choice between getting medicine or buying food.
People's need for such assistance will not diminish with the Affordable Care Act and Healthcare Reform, Barnes said, adding that the Congressional Budget Office's recent report on the "Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage" estimate anywhere from 29-44 million will remain without insurance over the next ten years.
For more information about the free prescription cards, to get a card from a participating United Way, compare the discounted price of prescriptions at nearby pharmacies, or to download a free card, visit FamilyWize.org
About United Way - United Way is a worldwide network in 40 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the U.S. It advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change. For more information about United Way, please visit: http://www.LIVEUNITED.org
About FamilyWize - The FamilyWize Community Service Partnership was established in 2005 to help people get the medicine they need. Today, more than 50,000 community agencies, coordinated by nearly 1,000 participating United Ways and America's Promise Alliance Partners in all 50 states coordinate local distribution of the free FamilyWize prescription drug discount cards, which lower the cost of medicine by up to 75%. As of May 2013, the free FamilyWize cards have helped more than five million people save over $500 million. For more information, visit FamilyWize.org/about-us
Ellen Imber, Vice President Community Outreach
800-222-2818, Ext. 135