Monday, July 18, 2016

Five Ways to Stay Safe in the Sun


The sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays are sneaky. They are invisible and can reach you by reflecting off another surface (like pool water!). In fact, they can even pass through glass, which is why most of us have more sun damage on the left side of our face from exposure while driving, according to skincancer.org. No surprise then that many of us wrongly assume we are protected from harmful rays when we’re often not. This is a dangerous assumption as UV exposure is the leading cause of melanoma.

Since it is UV Safety Month, we’re sharing the top five ways you can protect yourself (and others) from UV rays, so that you can relax when you’re having fun in the sun.

#1 – Use Common Sense as Your First Line of Defense


According to the FDA, over-reliance on sunscreen is a risk. Unfortunately, it is easy to miss small patches of skin when applying sunscreen – which is enough to leave you at risk for sunburn and its associated long-term risks. So, the best move is to begin with common sense:
  • Avoid midday exposure when the sun is highest in the sky. This is when sunrays are most dangerous.
  • Wear protective clothing over exposed skin, such as long-sleeved shirts/pants, and a hat with a broad brim. 
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses. 
  • Favor the shade.
Use your sunscreen as your second line of defense, not the first.

#2 – Watch Out for Uncovered Spots


When you’re slathering on that sunscreen and racing for the beach or the pool, it’s easy to assume that you are “mostly” protected. Make sure not to miss easily and commonly overlooked areas including:
  • Ear lobes
  • Eye lids 
  • Lips (use lip balm with SPF protection) 
  • Bald spots 
  • Neck 
  • Palms of your hands 
  • Soles of your feet 
  • Your back 
  • The edges of your swimsuit or top (as they shift, unprotected skin gets exposed to the sun)

#3 – Check Sun Lotion Expiration Dates


Yes, it actually does matter how old your sunscreen is. Most likely, it has a printed expiration date. Once it has expired, throw it away immediately. The product’s active ingredients become less effective over time. In fact, the safest thing to do is throw away all of your unused sunscreen on an annual basis and replenish your stock with brand new bottles.

#4 – For Reliable SPF, Use Chemical-Based Sunscreens


Recent research by Consumer Reports shows that a troubling 48% of all sunscreen products do not provide the SPF rating that they claim on their packaging. Many people choose mineral-based sunscreens over chemical-based sunscreens for health reasons, but the research showed that only 26% of mineral sunscreens met the SPF levels claimed on their packaging. To play it safe, consider using one of the chemical-based sunscreen lotions, which score the highest in terms of SPF reliability.

#5 – Avoid Potentially Harmful Sunscreen Ingredients


Ingredients found in some sunscreen formulas present risks that are best avoided. For example, though vitamin A is generally good for us, the form of vitamin A often used in lotions can actually accelerate the development of skin tumors if applied in sunlight. And some fragrances commonly used in sunscreen have been linked to skin tumors. When you’re applying sunscreen, the best bet is to do so when you are clean and free from other products.

More Resources


Avoiding sun-related health issues is a key concern during the summer; no one wants to spend a day of nice weather stuck inside of a doctor’s office or hospital dealing with sunburn, sun poisoning, dehydration, or related issues. Of course, if you find yourself in this position, we can help.

Use the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card to ensure that you save on any of your prescriptions. At least if you’re suffering from an illness, you won’t have to worry about the price of your medications.

If you don’t already have a card, you can easily download a free card online. You can also request a card by calling 1-800-222-2818. Not interested in carrying the card with you? There’s an app (for Apple and Android) available here.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Annual Healthcare Costs for Families Hit $25K



The data is in and it’s concerning: The annual healthcare costs for a family of four have hit $25K. According to the annual Milliman Medical Index analysis, this represents an increase of $1,155 over last year’s costs, and it is triple what healthcare costs were in 2001.

Even worse? It’s anticipated that family healthcare costs will rise another 4.7% this year alone. Although this is the lowest annual increase in 15 years, it is still taking a financial toll on today’s families. According to Chris Grod, co-author of the Milliman Medical Index, this is a “significant and somewhat unsettling milestone.”

Unsettling is right. What exactly does this data mean for you and your family? What can you do in light of these rising costs?

According to the report, the cause of increasing healthcare costs is due to two factors:
  1. A reduction in employer contributions
  2. A rise in prescription drug costs
Employers typically pay some portion of healthcare costs for full-time employees (usually it’s part of the annual healthcare premiums). As employers continue to find ways to shift increasing costs to employees, through higher deductibles, co-pays, and employee contributions, these healthcare costs escalate for employees and their families. Unfortunately, these costs aren’t rising in relation to salaries, leading to a larger population of underinsured people, those who have high deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses relative to their income. The uninsured are in a more challenging position, absorbing 100% of these costs and increases on their own.

And it’s not just the fees associated with insurance and doctor’s visits, it’s the actual prescriptions themselves that are rising in cost too. According to Milliman, prescription drug costs alone make up 17% of the average family’s healthcare costs, which equals an average of $4,270 annually.

These increases can be challenging to navigate. Here’s what you can do to help offset them:
  • Look for ways to lower your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. For instance, by using the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card on a consistent basis, you can start saving immediately on your prescription drug needs. If you don’t already have a card, you can easily download a free card by visiting https://familywize.org/prescription-savings-card/get-your-free-card/. You can also request a card by calling 1-800-222-2818. Not interested in carrying the card with you? There’s an app (Apple and Android), available here.
  • Always ask your doctor for the lowest cost, most effective way to treat a health condition. In some cases, this may be ordering a generic form of medication, when available. Be your own advocate!
  • Use the FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool to find the pharmacy in your area with the best price on your medication. 
  • Practice preventive medicine, which can help lower your family’s overall healthcare costs. Eat healthful meals, get adequate sleep, exercise, and alleviate stress to help keep your immune system strong. Managing chronic health conditions can help alleviate more complicated, and costly, health challenges.
  • Look to lower or alleviate costs in other areas to help offset your overall household increases. For instance, check out this post regarding the best couponing blogs for valuable information on saving on household expenses.
By understanding how these increases in healthcare costs affect you and your family and establishing ways to help defer these costs, you can still keep your family members healthy while enjoying the activities and lifestyle you desire.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Celebrate Your Freedom to Save!




Independence Day is when we celebrate our country’s freedom. Many of us also get to enjoy the 4th of July holiday with a vacation from work, offering plenty of opportunities for fun, rest, and relaxation. It’s also the perfect time to celebrate your freedom to save. Read on for our top tips!

Home & Garden Merchandise


If you’re planning to entertain this summer, check out deals on home and garden merchandise. From patriotic décor and lawn furniture to gardening supplies and grills, department stores have great sales on these items at this time of year. Check out major department stores in your area for great holiday savings. Specialty items for the pool and beach are usually on sale by the time 4th of July rolls around, too.

Grocery Items


Don’t forget food, drinks, and snacks. Make sure to stock up on barbecue favorites such as hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken, drinks, and chips while they’re on sale. You can also buy these items in bulk from a shopping club. Then, you’re certain to have plenty for guests when the grilling season or special event rolls around. Check out our Pinterest board, Healthy Summer BBQ, for more entertaining ideas!

Summer Apparel


Swimwear, shorts, and sandals have been drastically reduced in price by the time 4th of July arrives. Take advantage of these markdowns. Not only can you and your family members enjoy a fashionable summer wardrobe this year, but you can purchase items for next year, too. Summer jewelry and handbags can be also found at great prices this time of year as retailers begin making room for back-to-school merchandise.

Electronics & Appliances


And then there are electronics and appliances. Probably not something you typically consider during the summer season, but it is a great time of year to purchase this type of merchandise at reduced prices. From televisions and refrigerators to mixers or printers, don’t discount the opportunity to save!

Save with FamilyWize


Don’t forget that you can save on your seasonal allergy and other medications during the summer season. Use your FamilyWize discount prescription drug card and maximize your savings on your prescription needs. Get your free card or download the app here.

Let’s not forget to pause and appreciate the freedoms we enjoy this Independence Day, but you can also take a minute to celebrate your freedom to save! Enjoy and be safe!

Monday, June 27, 2016

6 Meds FamilyWize Users Save Big On



 You’ve no doubt read the common statistics about skyrocketing prescription costs. Anything you can do to save money on prescriptions – especially those you take regularly – is worth the effort.

One way to save is, of course, the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card, which can save you quite a bit on your medications – even up to 82 percent! – depending on the drug. The card (and the app) is free and we pass 100% of the savings back to you, so you’re always receiving the best price possible (whether it’s ours, the insurance price, or the pharmacy price).

Not convinced? Today we’re sharing six medications that FamilyWize users save big on. Just think – these savings could be yours too!

Generic SINGULAIR – Average Savings of 82%


The drug Montelukast Sodium, commonly known by its brand name SINGULAIR, is often prescribed to prevent or manage asthma symptoms and to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. FamilyWize users save an average of 82% off the price they would pay without the FamilyWize discount card.

Generic Amoxil – Average Savings of 41%


Amoxicillin is a generic for the brand name drug Amoxcil. It’s regularly prescribed for infections, as many of you probably already know! When you use the FamilyWize card or app you can save an average of 41% off the total cost.

PredniSONE – Average Savings of 28%


Have you ever been prescribed PredniSONE? Many people have, as it can treat diseases and conditions associated with inflammation. For example, it helps to relieve the symptoms associated with allergies and asthma. The great news is that when you use the FamilyWize card or app, you can save an average of 28% off the retail price of this commonly prescribed drug. Generic Imitrex – Average Savings of 79%

Often sold under the brand name Imitrex, Sumatriptan Succinate is a drug that FamilyWize customers often use the prescription savings card for because using it results in an average savings of more than 79%! Sumatriptan is commonly prescribed for migraine headaches.

Synthroid – Average Savings of 29%


Synthroid, a brand name drug, is one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States. It’s used to treat diabetes and endocrine issues – and with FamilyWize you can save an average of 29% - on a brand name medication!

Generic Cymbalta – Average Savings of 74%


Duloxetine (also known as Cymbalta) is commonly prescribed to treat major depressive disorder or general anxiety disorder. When you use the FamilyWize card or app you can expect an average of 74% off the regular price.

Yes, the savings that come with the FamilyWize card are a huge relief for those without insurance and facing what can be large medical expenses, but anyone can use it! The FamilyWize price is sometimes better than the insurance price. For those who are underinsured, with high deductibles or a plan that doesn’t cover many necessary medications, and for those with insurance, the savings are there for the taking! Use the Drug Price Lookup Tool to find out what you’ll pay before you go to the pharmacy, or don’t be hesitant to present the card and ask the pharmacist for a price comparison.
Saving money on prescriptions

Aside from the FamilyWize card, there are other ways to save. Always ask your pharmacist about the availability of your prescription medication in a generic, non-branded version. The highest savings percentages, as noted above, will nearly always be with generic drugs. However, you can use the FamilyWize card with any prescription. No matter what, you’ll always receive the best price.

We understand that this sounds too good to be true – but it’s not! Here’s how it works: FamilyWize negotiates with pharmacies across the U.S. to get discounts similar to what they would give large groups like insurance companies and employers. FamilyWize then passes 100% of these negotiated discounts to its cardholders. That’s it!

Don’t miss out on these savings. Get your free card here or the app here.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Parties: Healthy, Budget-Friendly Summer Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Summer is a time for family gatherings, church picnics, block parties, and other social gatherings – and you’re usually expected to bring a dish! Looking for some new ideas? You’ll love these low-cost and tasty dishes. Each of these three summer recipes was selected for its healthy, family-friendly, budget-friendly, travel-friendly qualities. Bon appetit!


A Healthy Summer Snack: Corn, Avocado, and Black Bean Salad


This is a light, refreshing, delicious, and easy side dish/snack to take to any summer gathering (or to have at home).

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup thawed frozen or fresh sweet corn
  • 40 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (use the stems too!)
Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced (or 2 limes)
  • 1-2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
To prepare: 
  • Prep all the veggie ingredients and add them to a large serving bowl. Toss well to combine. 
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the veggies. Toss gently to coat evenly.
  • Serve with chips!

Get the original recipe from Produce on Parade.


Healthy Summer Main Dish Recipe: Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats


This creative recipe from TheWholesomeDish.com is low-carbohydrate and high-protein. And its presentation as a “boat” makes it appealing to kids. You’ll start with halved, de-seeded zucchinis. You’ll be filling the boats with browned ground chicken, into which you have stirred some garlic and a favorite pasta sauce. After spooning the mixture into your zucchini boats, simply top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and then bake until the cheese melts and the zucchini is soft. Super simple, and super delicious! Get the full recipe and details here.


Healthy Summer Dessert Recipe: Chocolate Dipped Fruit Cones


You’ll be hard-pressed to find a healthier or easier summer recipe than this. Here’s what you need:
  • Ice cream cones
  • Assorted fruit, cut into pieces
  • Chocolate syrup (optional)
All you have to do is cut the fruit of your choice into bite-sized pieces (as you would for a fruit salad). Place that fruit inside of the cones. That’s it! When you serve it, put out chocolate syrup for guests to add on top! Refreshing, somewhat healthy, and delicious! 


Summer Savings


These healthy recipes are just one step on the path of healthy living. If your summer involves trips to the doctor, it’s good to know that you can save an average of 43% on your prescriptions with the FamilyWize prescription savings card, which is free to all consumers, insured or uninsured, and has no eligibility requirements. Request a card at FamilyWize.org, or call 800-222-2818. Try it today and start saving!

Monday, June 13, 2016

How to Remember to Take Your Medication


Medication adherence is critical to the success of each drug. Sticking to the prescribed dosage and timing is essential to getting the most value from the medicine – not to mention that it can be detrimental to your physical health if you do not follow your doctor’s instructions. But in a world that is often full of responsibilities and distractions, it can be hard to remember when and how to take your meds. And the prescription drug adherence plot thickens when you’re groggy or confused as a result of a medical condition or from the drugs you’re taking. 

The following tips will help you remember your doctor’s medical plan of action: which drugs to take when, and in what dosage.

1. Set an alarm or a calendar reminder


The software on your computer or the apps on your smartphone can make remembering to take medications much easier. You can use these programs to set a repeating alarm – one that alerts you every day at a certain time, or several specific times a day. And unlike a traditional mechanical bedside alarm clock, you can label the software-based alarm with helpful info, such as the name of the medication, how much to take, and other important details, such as whether to take with food, take after a meal, take on an empty stomach, etc.

2. Use fridge notes


Sure, it’s old school, but consider putting sticky notes on places in your home that you know you’ll see every day (or several times a day), like the bathroom mirror or on the door of your refrigerator.
 

3. Enlist the help of a friend or family member


Getting loved ones involved can be especially helpful when the medications you’re taking are making you tired or confused, or when your medical condition is related to memory issues. Ask a trusted family member to help you with scheduled reminders.

4. Call your pharmacist


The job of your pharmacist is not just to dispense doctor-prescribed medications to you but to also know the side effects and compositions of various medications and to keep good patient records. Pharmacists can provide you with information on the drugs they dispense, including how often and in what doses they should be taken, what other drugs may interact negatively with them, and much more. And their computers keep careful track of your purchase records, so that they can retrieve your prescription history at near-instantaneous speeds.

If you cannot find the literature that came with your drug or don’t remember other doctor-specified or pharmacist-specified instructions, do not feel the least bit uncomfortable in calling your pharmacist and asking them questions about your prescription medication.

Saving money on prescriptions


When your doctor prescribes medicines, you’ll be relieved to know that you can significantly reduce the cost of your prescription with the free FamilyWize card. FamilyWize negotiates with pharmacies across the U.S. to get discounts similar to what they give large groups like insurance companies and employers. FamilyWize then passes 100 percent of these negotiated discounts through to cardholders when they go to their pharmacist to purchase their medicine. Find out more.



Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Saving Tips for the Whole Family

With the summer season quickly approaching, everyone wants to find ways to relax, have fun, and enjoy the season with family and friends. But can you do that without breaking the bank? Of course! Check out these summer saving tips for the whole family.



Entertainment

  • Find ways to have fun locally. Parks and recreation centers offer no- or low-cost camps, activities, and events throughout the summer months. Check out your local event calendar for details.
  • Rather than plan a vacation, which probably includes the expense of travel, a hotel stay, entrance to attractions, and meals, allow each family member to choose a day trip or activity to enjoy. By having fun closer to home, at least part of the vacation expense can be eliminated.
  • Use your local library. Not only can you and family member stock up on books for summer reading, but most libraries now offer movies, music, games, and tickets to area museums that can be borrowed, too. In addition, check out your library’s calendar of events for fun activities to enjoy, usually at no cost.

Food


  • Plant a garden this summer. It’s a great activity for the entire family, plus it helps you save on produce costs, too. Do you have a small yard, or no yard at all? No problem! Container gardens are a great option for small spaces.
  • Grill at home rather than eating out. Enjoy the summer grilling season by trying new recipes that your family will enjoy. Incorporate the produce grown in your garden, when possible.
  • Host a block party or potluck dinner. Encourage a greater sense of community in your neighborhood by bringing neighbors together. It’s a great way to socialize and enjoy a range of foods, while keeping entertaining costs down.

More Ideas

 
  • Teach your kids how they can enjoy “new” clothing from thrift stores and even garage sales. Since the summer season is especially short and kids outgrow clothing so quickly, buying secondhand clothing is a great way to shop for some new-to-you clothing without overspending.
  • Bike or walk as much as possible. Leave the car at home when you can. Not only will you experience savings, but you’ll also benefit from the exercise. Check out more here.
  • Energy costs can be particularly high in the summer months. But, there are ways to save, enlisting the help of your family members. For instance, remind your kids to turn off lights, appliances, and electronic devices when not in use. Keep your air conditioning set to 78 degrees as a rule of thumb. You might consider not running the AC when no one is home to help with summer savings. Check out this site for more energy saving tips.
  • Save money at the pharmacy. While certain illnesses, including the flu, are common in winter, others, including allergies and ear infections are common in summer months.

    The FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card provides an average savings of 43% on medications! Anyone can request a card by printing one at www.FamilyWize.org/card or by calling 1-800-222-2818.

    FamilyWize also has a drug lookup tool. Before leaving your home to pick up your medication, taking a minute to look up the pharmacy with the best price can help you save significantly at the pharmacy.




    Both the savings card and the drug lookup took are available in the free FamilyWize app: Click here to download it to an Apple product or click here to download it for Android.  
 
Remember: the summer season is a great time to spend quality time with family and friends. At the same time, you can find plenty of ways to save! Enjoy!