In West Alabama, a partnership between the United Way and the nation’s leading provider of free prescription drug discount cards has helped 7,128 people save $895,413.
Nationwide, FamilyWize Community Service Partnership along with 1,000 other local United Ways have helped more than 5 million people get medicine they otherwise would not have been able to afford.
“Saving people money on necessary prescriptions is vital to the health and well-being of our families and our community,” said Jackie Wuska, president and CEO, United Way of West Alabama.
“Too often, not taking medicine you need because you cannot afford it begins a series of consequences that could start with disease progression and end with large medical bills or even bankruptcy,” she said.
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 that 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, said, “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.”
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 health care costs.
And a Harvard University/CVS Caremark study shows that taking medicine as prescribed can save as much as $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 grass-roots initiative can help individuals and communities avoid such consequences,” Wuska said. “We provide these free prescription discount cards to local social service agencies, faith-based organizations, schools, community centers, local government and healthcare providers so everyone can get the medicine they need.”
Many local pharmacists and physicians also assist by providing cards or making their patients aware of how to get a card, either through United Way of West Alabama, 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 percent 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 a choice between getting medicine or buying food.
“People’s need for such assistance will not diminish with the Affordable Care Act and health care reform,” Barnes said.
He added 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 10 years.”
For information about the free prescription cards, call 211.
To compare discounted prices of prescriptions at nearby pharmacies or for more about the program, visit FamilyWize.org.
(Source: Tuscaloosa News: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20130519/NEWS/130519730?p=2&tc=pg)
(From Web on Sunday, May 19, 2013)