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Partner Spotlight: free prescription discount cards available through FamilyWize

According to The Silent Epidemic, a Civic Enterprises report commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, more than one in five teens said they dropped out of high school because they had to care for a sick family member.

As the cost of living rises each year, peoples’ wages can barely keep pace.  Some teens dropout to help support the family. Health suffers when necessary medicine for treatment and maintenance is not available due to cost.  America’s Promise partner FamilyWize Community Service Partnership (FamilyWize) provides assistance in getting needed medicine with a free prescription discount card that can save families up to 75 percent off the cost of their medication.

According to United Way Worldwide, 40 million Americans currently work in low-paying jobs do not have access to basic health care or insurance coverage, including the necessary prescription drugs they need to treat chronic conditions and maintain good health. Lack of access to medicine can easily lead to unnecessary complications, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and more, all of which strain families already at the financial brink.

FamilyWize is proud to make the “Healthy Start” Promise come alive by making free prescription  discount cards available to families in need. While many children (but not all who need it) are covered under Children's Health Insurance Plans (CHIP), few of their parents have coverage.  And, often, coverage is incomplete or inadequate for all medications, even for families fortunate enough to have employer-sponsored coverage.  With access to necessary medicine, parents (and children) stay healthier and control chronic conditions, which could mean fewer students dropping out of  school or missing class to care for ill family members or to help support a family with a parent who can no longer work.

FamilyWize was founded in 2005 by Dan and Susan Barnes to help people struggling with high prescription costs afford their medication. What began as a small initiative by two dedicated people  in LeHigh Valley, PA, has become a team of more than 50,000  individuals coming together. partners such as with the United Way and America's Promise, dedicated employees taking calls in our office, and pharmacists who share the card with their customers work toward the shared goal of helping others, and contributing  to the FamilyWize mission of saving $1 billion in prescription costs to consumers by 2015. As of November 2012, partnerships with organizations like America’s Promise have helped over 5 million people save more than $430 million.

How does it work? The FamilyWize discount prescription drug card is distributed through local United Ways, nonprofit partner agencies, health professionals and the faith-based community.  Another easy way to obtain a card is to use the FamilyWize website, where the card can be downloaded and printed for free. The website includes a drug price look-up function where cardholders can look up their medication and compare the cost at different pharmacies. They can also check to make sure their pharmacy accepts the FamilyWize discount card. More than sixty thousand pharmacies accept the discount card.

All America’s Promise Alliance partners can join in and easily help distribute cards, either by requesting physical cards to pass out, including a link to the FamilyWize website on their websites, or requesting a customized electronic version of the card for their own website which can also be emailed to outlying offices, partners and individuals. The cards are not individually assigned, so photocopied versions are also permitted. The FamilyWize discount card helps people without insurance afford costly medications. It can also help with the cost of medications that insurance does not cover at all.

By helping families afford prescription medications, FamilyWize is helping children and the families who support them have a Healthy Start and a better chance to stay in school. Access to prescriptions is a vital component of good health and financial security. A lack of necessary medicine can impact a family, financially as well as medically. Reducing prescriptions costs for children, families and individuals helps to create stronger, healthier and happier communities.

For more information, visit the FamilyWize website or contact Ellen Imber.