Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The 10 Most Important Questions You're Not Asking Your Pharmacist

Your pharmacist is an important part of your healthcare team, able to help you with interpret and evaluate information regarding your medications, but they’re often an overlooked resource. The next time you visit your pharmacy for either prescription or over-the-counter medication, don’t hesitate to speak with your pharmacist if you have any questions. Below are 10 questions to consider asking.


  1. How long do I need to take this medication? In the case of an antibiotic, which is usually prescribed for an infection, you may only take the prescription for 7-10 days. However, for a chronic condition, such as a thyroid disorder, the medication might be something that’s required on an ongoing basis. It’s important to understand what your medication requires – and it’s also important to take the full dosage, even if you start to feel better!
  2. Should I take this medication with food or on an empty stomach? In some instances, taking meds with food might be necessary because taking it on an empty stomach can make you feel sick. In other cases, meds can have an interaction with or be ineffective when taken with certain foods. It’s important to know the proper way to take each medication.
  3. What time of day should I take this medication? All medications are different! Sometimes taking them in the evening is recommended, while others suggest taking them in the morning. Your pharmacist can point out the reason behind taking your medicine when it’s suggested.
  4. What are the possible side effects of this medication? By discussing any possible side effects with your pharmacist, you will be prepared should you experience any unusual sensations while taking your medicine. Sometimes side effects can even be managed by taking into account some of the above (when you eat and when you take your meds).
  5. What if I miss a dose? As your pharmacist will explain, in some cases, you should go ahead and take that missed dose. In other cases, you should wait until it’s time for your next dose. 
  6. Are there any possible interactions? It’s important to share a complete list of all your meds, both prescription and over-the-counter, including supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies, with your pharmacist to help alleviate any interactions. Also, your pharmacist will point out any possible interactions with certain foods, even exposure to sun, that can impact the effectiveness of your medication or your health. 
  7. How should I store this medication? For most medications, a dry, cool temperature is suggested for storage. There are certain medications that require refrigeration, however. Ask! 
  8. How should I dispose of this medication? Medicine take-back programs (www.fda.gov/drugs) are a great option for medication disposal. In some instances, flushing and using the trash are approved, too. Ask your pharmacist for guidelines. 
  9. Is a generic available? Using a generic medication can usually save you money while providing the same benefits as a brand drug. If you’re not receiving the generic, ask for it! 
  10. Am I getting the best price possible? By using your FamilyWize prescription savings card, you can ensure you are receiving the best possible price on your medication. 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 Andriod.
     
    Your doctor may have other money-saving suggestions or tips. 

 
Based on your condition, the prescription your doctor prescribes, and your personal situation, you may have additional questions for your pharmacist. Remember: your pharmacist is happy to help you with any questions or concerns, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Couponing Blogs You Should Follow Today

Savvy shoppers have utilized coupons for ages, and it’s easy to get started. Whether you use the printed version or those available through apps, there are coupons for just about any product or service you can imagine. Couponing allows you to enjoy the lifestyle you like at a lower cost. Who doesn’t like to save?


Now there are even couponing blogs that offer advice, money-saving tips, and couponing options. How do you find the best couponing blog for your needs? Check out these ideas:

Determine what type of coupons you primarily use. If you mainly look for coupons related to products and services for kids, there are plenty of mommy couponing blogs to follow. Check out www.topmommyblogs.com for a list of great blogs to follow. These blogs offer great tips on how to save money and feature special offers and advice. If you’re primarily in the market for grocery coupons, check out a site such as www.grocerycouponnetwork.com, which features 50 blogs related to groceries, home goods, travel, and other family-related items.

Establish how much information you are seeking. Many blogs offer much more than just couponing information. Determine how much other information, such as advice, recipes, informative articles, and even DIY ideas, you are looking for before subscribing to a blog.

Be realistic about how much time you have. With so many couponing blogs out there, subscribing to a few will likely save you money at the register. However, what you save in dollars might cost you in time. Assess how much you are getting from each blog and whether the time you spend engaged in the blogs is worth it in the long run.

Assess a blog’s ties to advertisers and offers. Is the blogger presenting a deal simply because it’s a great deal, or is the blogger financially tied to the company in some way? While the offer might still be a great deal, being aware of compensation is an important piece of information to have.

Couponing blogs to check out:
  • www.coupons.com Has local coupons and coupon codes for online purchase. This site allows you to share coupons with family and friends and offers cash-back offers and loyalty coupons.
  • www.truecouponing.com Offers coupons and deals on products for the home, food, and even silver jewelry. I did notice deals for specific stores, not just manufacturer’s coupons, on this site.
  • www.pennypinchinmom.com This mommy blogger worked her family out of debt, and she is determined to help others save money and live debt free. Her tips could help you!
  • www.thekrazycouponlady.com Offers extreme couponing information.

Also, don’t forget to share this blog - blog.familywize.org - with your family and friends. In addition to advice on issues such as health, wellness, and saving money, the Familywize Prescription Discount Card can help you save at the pharmacy.

www.familywize.org/card


Couponing blogs are a great way to learn effective couponing tips, engage in saving money on a regular basis, and have fun in the process. With friendly advice and up-to-date deals and offers, couponing blogs provide more than just money-saving tips for you and your family.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Five Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy

May is Mental Health Month, so we’re sharing five things you can do to improve your brain health, some of which may surprise you!



1. Connect with others in your community 

Having strong relationships with the people around you will enrich your life. People who maintain relationships with their families, friends, neighbors, and others in their community benefit from a stronger support system, which lowers stress and helps us to keep things in perspective.

Volunteering your time for a cause or issue that you care about is a wonderful way to give back to your community, meet new people, and also boost your mood. For volunteer ideas, you may consider checking out online resources including VolunteerMatch.com, or reaching out to your local United Way.

2. Pump up your gray matter with meditation 

A 2015 study conducted by a Harvard affiliated research team found solid evidence that meditation can actually transform your brain’s gray matter, sustaining a positive and relaxed state. They found that daily meditative mindfulness exercises resulted in two positive benefits:
  • Boosts in gray matter density in the part of the brain that increases self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.
  • Decreases in gray matter density in the areas of the brain associated with anxiety and stress. 

3. Eat your way to mental health

It turns out that what (and even when) you eat can positively, or negatively, influence your brain health. For example:
  • Certain fats are healthy for your brain, helping you maintain a happy state. UCLA's Brain Research Institute determined that the Omega-3 fatty acids in foods such as salmon, walnuts, and kiwi fruit not only enhance memory but also reduce depression, schizophrenia, and dementia.
  • Another study determined that cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, collard greens, etc.) can improve your mental functioning. 
  • Research shows that foods with beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, can decrease inflammation, which in turn positively affects your mood and cognition.
  • Dark chocolate’s antioxidants increase blood flow to the brain, which aids both mood and memory.
  • Studies also show that the curcumin in turmeric can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease, ADHD, and autism. And a 2004 study showed that the smell of cinnamon can boost brain activity. Nutmeg is often used to reduce fatigue and stress. 

4. Remain positive! a According to neuroscience research, engaging in negative thoughts causes the brain to be hardwired for chronic negativity. Complaining -- an offshoot of anger that leads to anxiety and stress -- compromises our immune systems, upsets hormonal balance, and makes us susceptible to stroke and heart disease. And our complaining words negatively influence the brain chemistry of those around us.
a

5. Aromatherapy: smell your way to brain healtha

Research suggests that some fragrances may have a clinically significant effect on your mood. For example, one study found that roasted coffee bean aroma resulted in stress relaxation in rat brains. Another study found that the scent of orange oil decreased anxiety in dental patients and reduced reliance on antidepressant medications.

This information should not to be considered medical advice, so first consult with your physician before considering any new health regimen. And if your doctor prescribes medicines, don’t forget that you can significantly reduce the cost of your prescription with the free FamilyWize card
 
www.familywize.org/card
 
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Health Insurance Glossary: 10 Terms to Know


Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) went into effect, the uninsured rate in the United States has reached record lows. But, there is still great confusion when it comes to health insurance information. Many Americans can’t even define basic health insurance terminology if prompted. A recent study in the state of Texas found:
  • 25% of respondents, regardless of insurance status, lack confidence in understanding basic health insurance terms like “deductible,” “premium,” and “copayment”
  • 40% of respondents with an individual plan expressed lack of confidence in understanding “co-insurance” and “maximum out-of-pocket expenses”
  • More than 33% of respondents with an individual plan said they were confused by what counts toward a deductible and what health services were covered under their plan

We get it – health insurance terminology is tricky, but understanding the language will bring you one step closer to better managing your health and maximizing your insurance plan. To help, FamilyWize has compiled a list of the top 10 terms you need to know when it comes to health insurance. Bookmark this post for future use, and be sure to share it with family and friends! 

People and Organizations Involved in Your Plan

  • Dependent: Any individual, either spouse or child, that is covered by the primary insured member’s plan.
  • Network: The group of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers that insurance companies contract with to provide services at discounted rates. You will generally pay less for services received from providers in your network. You can usually check which providers are in your network on your insurance company’s website or by calling. You can also call your provider and ask!
 

Fees and Costs Associated with Your Plan

  • Co-pay: The flat fee you pay for certain medical expenses. Example: You pay a fee of $10 for every doctor visit, but then the insurance company pays the rest.
  • Coinsurance: Your share of the costs of a covered healthcare service, calculated as a percentage (for example, 20%) of the allowed amount for the service. You generally pay coinsurance in addition to any deductibles you owe. (For example, if your plan’s allowed amount for an office visit is $100, and you’ve met your deductible, your coinsurance payment of 20% would be $20. The health insurance or plan pays the rest of the allowed amount.)
  • Deductible: The dollar amount (example: $1,000) you pay each year, after which insurance protection begins. You pay expenses up to the deductible amount and then the insurance company pays the remainder, up to the policy limit (Example: $50,000). Some plans pay for certain healthcare services before you’ve met your deductible.
  • Premium: The payment you provide to the insurance company in exchange for insurance coverage. In some cases, your employer may cover this expense (or part of it).
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket Expenses: The most money you will pay during a year for coverage. This includes deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance, but is in addition to your regular premiums. Beyond this amount, the insurance company will pay all expenses for the remainder of the year.
  • Cost for Choosing Out-of-Network Services: A doctor, hospital or pharmacy that is not part of your health plan's network of preferred providers. You will generally pay more for services received from out-of-network providers.

Affordable Care Act 

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA; ObamaCare): Signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, the ACA was enacted to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the amount of uninsured individuals by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reduce the costs of healthcare for individuals and for the government.
  • Preventive Care Services: Services like vaccinations and other key screenings that are required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are offered at no cost to you through private insurance plans. 
For a complete list of insurance-related terms, refer to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s full glossary

FamilyWize is here to help you better navigate the complicated and ever-changing healthcare marketplace. Our free prescription discount card is available for everyone to use – whether you are insured, underinsured or uninsured. Remember to always carry the card with you (or download our free app), and present it to the pharmacist each time, to ensure you receive the lowest price possible on your medications.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The #1 Way to Save on Prescriptions


Here’s something you may not know – there is a free, easy way to save on your prescriptions:

The FREE FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card!

FamilyWize offers their prescription savings card to lower the cost you pay for your prescriptions.

It’s simple and here’s how it works: 

  • FamilyWize acts like a big buying group, pulling together millions of people to receive competitive pricing on prescriptions. These people either have no health insurance (the uninsured), have high medication costs (the insured), or need to buy medicine not covered by their plan (the underinsured). 
  • FamilyWize negotiates with the pharmacies to get discounts similar to what they give large groups like insurance companies and employers.
  • FamilyWize passes 100% of these negotiated discounts to the people using the card to purchase their medicine – whether you have insurance or not. Yes, you read that right, we do not take a cut of the savings. All of the savings are yours.
  • In 2015, the average savings was 43%

Now you might be thinking there is probably a loophole, so you can’t use the card. Guess what? Anyone can use the card. Here are the facts:
  • The card is FREE – whether you download the app, print the card from the FamilyWize website or request a card to be sent via the mail. You pay nothing. Ever.
  • Anyone can use the card. You do not need to register or meet any eligibility criteria and you can share the card with family and friends!
  • The card can be used on all FDA-approved prescription medications and it has unlimited use at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide. Yes, the card works for your refills, too!
 Time for you to start saving:
  • Get the card (whether it’s the app or a physical, printed card). Anyone can get the card – have we mentioned that yet? It’s free.
  • Bring your prescription and the FamilyWize card to one of the participating pharmacies. You have to show it every time, and the card has unlimited use. Before you go you can even use our Drug Lookup Tool to see the price you’ll end up paying.
  • You will get the lowest price on your prescription. This may be the pharmacy’s price, it may be the insurance price (if you have insurance), or it could be our price. No matter what, you will be paying the lowest possible amount for that prescription. You will save an average of 8 times out of 10 over the pharmacy's retail price.
  • Even if you have insurance, you can use the card to save on prescription drugs that are excluded by your insurance plan or are not covered because you have exceeded your insurance plan's maximum limits. In some instances, you might find that the FamilyWize price is lower than your program's co-payment amount.
 We’ve helped people save more than $1 billion on prescription costs, and we only want that number to increase. Start saving today! Try the card and spread the word today!
 
 

Monday, April 25, 2016

6 Ways to be Your Healthiest Self



Being healthier doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your lifestyle. Simple changes can add up and make a big difference. Try implementing some of our recommended changes below, and feel the effects on your mind, body, and wallet.


1. Eat well. 

Indulge in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats on a regular basis. Skip the processed foods, especially those that are fried and/or high in sugar.

2. Exercise.

Get moving. Whether it’s a daily walk or even low-impact exercise such as stretching, Pilates, yoga, and swimming, these forms of movement all have a great impact on your overall health.

3. Get your ZZZs.

Sleep is an important aspect of your overall health, allowing all the systems of your body to renew and recharge. Since sleep is crucial to good health, physical and mental, and overall well-being, if you’re having difficulty with sleep, be sure to see your health care provider.

4. Make an appointment with your doctor. 

With most insurance plans, an annual preventative visit is now free. Take advantage of that by checking in with your doctor to discuss your health – even if you’re not having any issues. Your doctor can often recognize problems before they become more challenging. In this way, you can help ward off catastrophic issues and save on your health at the same time.

5. Consider changing medications.

 If you do require meds (either prescription or over-the-counter), consider a generic or other lower-cost option, including mail-order pharmacies. In some instances, another medication might treat your condition at a lower cost. Of course, changing or modifying medication should always be done under the supervision of your physician.

If you are picking up prescription medications, remember to always use the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card. Whether you are insured, underinsured, or uninsured, the savings card will save you an average of 43% on your medications. It’s easy to use: visit our website to print a card, download a card using our free app for Apple or Android, or request a card be mailed to you. Just remember to always have the card or app with you when you visit the pharmacy!

6. Do a benefit check-up.

Do you really know the full benefits available from your health insurance coverage? In some cases, your health insurance may offer perks such as a membership (full coverage or at a discounted rate) to a designated health club or gym. Yet, many individuals are often unaware of all the extras insurance offers, and the money they could be saving. Take time to review your health insurance plan to ensure you’re taking full advantage of all the benefits available to you, another smart way to save on your health.

Prevention is one of the key factors when it comes to saving on your health. These six tips can help prevent illness and/or injury before it occurs, develop an open line of communication with your doctor or health care provider, and put you on the path to a healthy, long life.

Live Healthy. Live Smart.
-FamilyWize

Monday, April 18, 2016

Top 5 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

According to experts, food costs account for 10-15% of a household’s income. While food costs are a constant and can’t be completely eliminated, there are ways to save at the grocery store. Check out these top ways to save from financial experts:

1. Choose the right store.


Believe it or not, where you shop can have a huge impact on your grocery bill. While you would think basic grocery items would be comparably priced in all stores, that’s often not the case. What can you do? 
  • Comparison shop in a few stores at least once. Determine what store has the overall best prices for your family’s needs and make that your primary grocery store.
  • If time/your schedule allows, consider shopping at different grocery stores for different items based on the best prices. For instance, you might purchase canned goods from one grocery store, while another grocery store has the best prices on meats and dairy products. 

2. Stock up during sales.


Some grocery stores offer periodic sales. This is a great opportunity to stock up on items that have a long shelf life and can be easily stored for future use. If you purchase grocery items such as meats during a sale, you can easily freeze them.

3. Substitute expensive items.


Grocery items like red meat can be costly. Consider substituting less expensive items such as chicken or beans in recipes like tacos or chili to save at the grocery store.

Consider buying generic or store brands. Often, there isn’t much difference in the ingredients in generic or store brand items compared to name brands. Because of the potential cost savings, at least consider generic or store brands during your next trip to the grocery store.

4. Buy larger quantities.


Whether its items like toilet paper and paper towels, or chopped meat and bread, buying larger packages at the grocery store usually results in savings. In addition, you may consider purchasing items at a warehouse club for additional savings.

5. Use the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card.


If you pick up prescriptions at the grocery store pharmacy, be sure to bring along the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card. You can download a FREE card on our website, download our free app, or request a card to be mailed to you. Those using the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card see average savings of 43%!

Additional tips for saving at the grocery store: 


  • Stick to a list. You’re less likely to impulse buy, which can result in overspending.
  • Shop less often. More frequent trips to the store often result in overspending. Plan ahead to alleviate additional trips. 
  • Don’t forget the coupons. Whether you rely on printed coupons you actually bring with you or apps on your smartphone, coupons can still save you money at the grocery store. Check out Consumer Reports for the best apps. 
  • Shop for items such as fruit and produce in season for additional savings. Or, grow your own.
Are you interested in learning more about saving money at the grocery store? Check out the booklet, “30 Ways in 30 Days,” the USDA’s low-cost food plan. Or, refer to books such as “Living a Beautiful Life on Less” by Danielle Wagasky.

Purchases at the grocery store may be one of the higher expenses for a household, but there are ways to save at the grocery store without sacrificing delicious, nutritious meals and a healthy lifestyle.

Live Healthy. Live Smart.
-FamilyWize