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For the last decade, FamilyWize and United Way NCA have helped over 120,000 people in the nation’s capital save upwards of 75% on their prescription medication. As of November 2018, savings for National Capital Area users surmounted $13 million dollars for local families through the FamilyWize card. As nationwide out of pocket spending on prescription drugs skyrockets nearly 7% between now and 2021, Americans are expected to dish out nearly $610 billion dollars for their medications. Even with insurance, the monthly costs for medications can teeter families on the edge of financial ruin. Such was the case for Mary Smith before she discovered the FamilyWize Card.

For months, Smith had struggled with her insurance to cover the cost of her diabetic son’s insulin prescription. It had gotten to the point where the family was breaking apart under the monthly burden of a $400 payment. Without insulin Mary’s son wouldn’t have any means to regulate his blood glucose levels, putting his health at risk and endangering his life. Having nowhere else to turn, she called her local United Way where she discovered FamilyWize.

Using FamilyWize’s pricing tool, Smith was able to locate a pharmacy that offered a discount on insulin for FamilyWize cardholders for only $88 a month. It had been months of the Smith family scraping by financially to cover the costs of her son’s medication. With her FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card, Mary is now able to put the extra money she’s saving on insulin towards her son’s college education.

“Whether people are insured or uninsured,” says Mike Carroro of FamiliyWize, “we know it’s not a problem that’s going away.” As prices for medication continue to escalate so too does the number of people who rely heavily on them to function day to day.

By working through a PBM, a Pharmacy Benefits Manager, FamilyWize is able to negotiate discounted prices on medication simply through association. Because FamilyWize works with pharmacies on an individual basis, members have the option to plug in their zipcode on the FamilyWize site and pick the pharmacy that offers them the best prices in their region.

Of the many solutions FamilyWize has created to simplify the process of discounted prescriptions is the assembly of critical information and resources all in one place. In the past, there hasn’t been an outlet for people to get connected with all of the resources that can give them aid without skipping from website to website. One of the priorities of FamilyWize, along with securing more affordable prices for medication, is to consolidate those resources so that people have an easier time seeking help.

“It’s such a helpless feeling when someone gets a prescription and they see the high cost and think ‘well what do I do now?’” confides Carollo. “They go to Google often times and they say ‘help’” he exclaims, “and we’re trying to consolidate all those resources and all that help into one spot.”

Through our partnership with FamilyWize, United Way NCA seeks to heighten the awareness of the program to empower those in our community towards greater health. Access to affordable medication should be a right to every household in the National Capital Area and across the country. As we continue to grow the network of FamilyWize participants, we get that much closer to helping the health of our community thrive.

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