Niagara Gazette

January 21, 2013

United Way partnership offers savings

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Every dollar patients spend on prescription medicines to treat heart disease and diabetes saves them $3 to $10 on other medical services, according to a 2011 Health Affairs study cited by United Way of Greater Niagara and FamilyWize, two organizations that are partnering to help local families stay healthy by making free prescription discount cards available to everyone in the community.

As of Dec. 31, 2012, the FamilyWize-United Way partnership with local pharmacies has saved people living or working in this area more than $326,826 on everyday prescription costs for conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and many others, plus an additional $716,433 on other medical services specifically related to heart disease and diabetes, such as doctor’s office visits, hospitalizations and surgeries.

“Lowering the cost of prescription medications allows more people to get the medicine they need when they need it,” said Carol Houwaart-Diez, president, United Way of Greater Niagara. “The dollars saved on the cost of complications, disease progression and additional health-related expenses are far greater than just the savings on the medicine. This program impacts both health and financial stability, two key building blocks for advancing the common good.”

Savings on medications can be as much as 75 percent with the free FamilyWize prescription discount card. Nationwide, more than 5 million people have been helped and more than $448 million has been saved. The card requires no enrollment or activation. Consumers just give the card to their pharmacists every time a prescription is needed and discounts are automatically applied.

“The FamilyWize card provides immediate savings on prescription medications and can make a difference in staying healthy. We hope everyone will help spread the word to their family and friends about this important free help,” said Ellen Imber, Vice-President Community Outreach for the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership.

“The cards can be used by everyone in the community, regardless of insurance,” Houwaart-Diez added. “They can even be used by those with insurance who have high deductibles or who take medications not covered by their plan, as well as people with Medicaid or Medicare when their prescription isn’t covered,” Houwaart-Diez added.

The FamilyWize-United Way Card is free and easy to use, and is available for immediate and unlimited use by anyone. The card is accepted at every chain pharmacy and most independent pharmacies. No enrollment or personal information is required.

Cards are available by contacting United Way of Greater Niagara at (716) 216-4582, by texting the word “family” to 700700 for a text version of the card, or by visiting to print a card and compare discounted medication prices at the different participating pharmacies.