Monday, October 17, 2016

Medicare Open Enrollment Tips

Are you ready for Medicare Open Enrollment? If not, you need to get ready! Open Enrollment is only October 15 through December 7, and there are penalties for missing the window; it’s worth a few minutes of your time today to prepare yourself. Open Enrollment can be confusing, so we’re sharing seven tips to help you understand what your Medicare options and requirements are.

Open Enrollment Tip 1 — Don’t Just Re-Up but Re-Evaluate

Even if you’re already enrolled in a Medicare health plan, it’s important to understand that the Open Enrollment period is largely about reevaluating your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, or both.

The big question you should be asking yourself is, “Do I need to change my plan or should I stay with my current plan?” The answer to that question begins with finding the answers to these related questions:
  • Has anything changed in my life?
  • Has anything changed in the plan I’m on? 
  • Has anything changed in the other plans available to me?
If nothing has changed significantly in any of those three areas, then your best strategy might be to stay with your current plan. Odds are though that at least one of these three things has changed. Take the time to go through the plans, looking for the option that best meets your needs.

Open Enrollment Tip 2 — Check Your Health

When you previously selected Medicare coverage, your health was a major factor. If you experienced a change in health status during the past 12 months, you’ve likely put your insurance plan to use, giving you a chance to evaluate the out-of-pocket costs and the quality of care you received. If it was not satisfactory, you should look for a plan that would offer improvements.

Open Enrollment Tip 3 — Evaluate Cost vs. Benefit

Oftentimes a more expensive plan comes with a wider range of benefits. This may have been appealing if you were thinking, “Better safe than sorry.” But that plan’s monthly payments may have proven to be more of a cost burden than you expected, especially if any of your other expenses have increased. Or, maybe you selected a lower-cost plan and now feel you’re feeling burdened by co-pays. In either case, a plan change may be exactly what you need.

Open Enrollment Tip 4 — Verify That Your Plan Features Match Your Lifestyle

There are measurable cost differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans (also known as Part C plans) are more affordable, but come with more restrictions, such as being more geographically localized to your home area. If you plan to spend a lot of time away from home (think snowbirds), you may be better off with Original Medicare rather than a Medicare Advantage plan.

Open Enrollment Tip 5 — Look at Prescription Drug Coverage

Many factors influence your choice for prescription drug coverage. These include:
  • Choosing no insurance because you feel you can cover the cost of your prescription drugs on your own
  • Enrolling in a Part D drug plan 
  • Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan that already includes drug coverage 
  • Getting your coverage through an employer or via your VA benefits 
  • Using a state-based Prescription Assistance Program, if available in your state
Keep in mind that you’re a year older now than when you last evaluated your options. As we age, the likelihood of needing prescription drugs goes up, and often substantially if, for instance, you develop a chronic condition that requires ongoing medication. So, if you are not already covered adequately to meet a changing medical status, use Open Enrollment to fix that.

Open Enrollment Tip 6 — Take a 1-Minute Quiz

Are you still feeling unsure and overwhelmed? Before making any decisions about switching your coverage during Open Enrollment, take this short Medicare Questionnaire, created by The National Council on Aging (NCOA), one of our partners. It gives you advice about how to choose the best plan for your needs, and about whether to change your Medicare plan during Open Enrollment.

Open Enrollment Tip 7 — Beware the Donut Hole!

The “donut hole” is a coverage gap in certain Medicare Prescription Drug Plans that begins after you reach a certain dollar amount for covered drug purchases in a calendar year. This gap can significantly affect your prescription costs. But you can lessen its impact on your wallet by using the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card. It’s free and anyone can use the card – insured or not. There are no qualifications to use the card, and it can save you an average of 43% off the cost of your prescription medications.

All you have to do is show the FamilyWize card (or app) to your pharmacist the next time you pick up a prescription and ask them to compare the discount offered by the card to the price you would pay otherwise. In many cases, the FamilyWize price proves to be the better deal.

And don’t forget to comparison shop. You can check the price for your prescription at all participating pharmacies in a selected region using our Drug Price Lookup Tool, available on our website or through our app (just search "FamilyWize" in your smartphone's app store). Then you can fill your prescription at the most affordable location.

With a little bit of effort, you can confidently manage your Medicare plan and prescription coverage. Take the time to do your research and prepare – especially during Open Enrollment!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tell Us About Your Experience and Save!

If you read our blog or follow us on social media, chances are you’ve already taken advantage of the no-cost FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card, and benefitted from the savings available to you by using it. If so, then you have a story worth sharing, and we want to hear it! Enter your story about using the FamilyWize card or app in the FamilyWize Milestones Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 31 great prizes.

The milestones are a story in themselves ...

Thanks to the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card:
  • More than 10 million people have saved on their prescriptions!
  • More than $1 billion was saved by FamilyWize cardholders!
The Milestones Sweepstakes celebrates these notable milestones, but ...

What we really want to hear is your story!

In the words of our President and Chief Operating Officer Joseph Sanginiti, “We are so thankful to have been able to help millions of families save an average of 43% on their prescription medications. We know first hand that these savings can save lives. And we’re proud to help.” And so finding out how the card has affected you means everything to us!

In your own words, tell us how the card has helped you to more easily afford the medications you need to live a healthy life. Your words will tell the story better than our own ever could because you are our story.

What you could win in our sweepstakes

Everyone who enters the contest will be eligible to win one of our 31 prizes, including:
  • A $500 grand prize gift card you can use at a local pharmacy or grocery store of your choice!
  • 20 gift cards worth $50 each to the local pharmacy or grocery store of your choice! 
  • 10 wristwatch-style Bluetooth pedometers to help you get healthy!
Even if you haven’t used the FamilyWize card or app yet – you can still enter! Simply tell us your experience using other savings cards.

Tips for writing your story

Need ideas for getting started with your story? Consider these:
  • Were you surprised by the amount you saved with the FamilyWize card? Tell us about it.
  • Are your prescription needs more than most? If so, your story could be about the collective savings you expect to realize over the course of the month or year. Tell us about it. 
  • Were you surprised/impressed by how easy it was to get or use your card at the pharmacy? Tell us about it. 
  • Has using the FamilyWize card made it possible to afford the prescriptions that, without it, you might have not purchased? Tell us about it.

Entering is this easy

1. Visit the contest page for all the information you need.

2. Select the option to enter and follow the simple steps.

3. Share your story about how you have saved with your FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card or your experience with other savings cards.

If you’re a winner, we’ll contact you within 30 days of the end of the sweepstakes. Regardless of whether your story is chosen or not, we appreciate you and hope that you continue to save with FamilyWize and live a healthy life.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tips for Using the FamilyWize App

With the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card anyone, insured or not, can save an average of 43% on the cost of their prescriptions. We understand that not everyone wants to carry a physical card with them to the pharmacy. No room in your wallet? No problem. Just download the FamilyWize app to start saving today!

These tips on how to download and use the app will ensure that you never pay full price for your prescriptions! The best part? The app is free for all devices!

Here’s how you can get started.
  1. First, find it! You can find the FamilyWize app in both the iTunes App Store and Google Play.
    Or, on our website, go to the Get Your Free Card page and click the Get the App link.
    The app is essentially a digital version of our prescription savings card. Simply hand your phone to the pharmacist every time you fill a prescription – you don’t need to print anything out. You’ll get immediate savings on your purchase, with or without health insurance.
  2. Locate a participating pharmacy. One of the main reasons people use the FamilyWize app is to find a participating pharmacy. The app makes this easy. Simply enter your preferred search location by zip code, and the app shows you which pharmacies nearby accept the FamilyWize card. 
  3. Widen your search to find the drug you need. If you don’t see the drug you need at your regular pharmacy, continue scrolling to see other pharmacies. Pharmacies will be listed in distance order – pharmacies closest to your zip code will appear first. 
  4. Compare prices around town! The Drug Price Lookup Tool is also available on the FamilyWize app, just like the website! The same drug can sometimes vary in price dramatically – especially brand versus generic formulations. The Price Lookup lets you easily compare drug prices at nearby pharmacies, so that you’re certain you’re always paying the lowest price. You can also click over for more information on a pharmacy, including the address, phone number, and other nearby locations.
  5. Get Fido and Mittens in on the savings too! Your FamilyWize card can be used for every member of your family, including pets. Use the app to save on their prescriptions too! 
  6. Share the savings. The app makes it easy for you to share the savings with others. You can easily send a card to someone via email, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. 
  7. Manage your Walgreens prescription. If Walgreens is your preferred pharmacy, the app makes it easy to manage your prescriptions. As long as you have your prescription number, you can refill an existing Walgreens prescription via the app. If you don’t currently use Walgreens for your prescriptions, that’s okay! You can use the app to transfer a current prescription to Walgreens with just your first name, last name, date of birth, phone number, current pharmacy phone number, and a photo of your pill bottle.
Cost should not prevent you from taking the medications you need to stay healthy. The FamilyWize prescription discount app is free and no activation is required to start using it. The FamilyWize app is just one more way for you to quickly and easily manage the costs of your prescriptions every time you visit the pharmacy. Download the app today!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Enter For Your Chance to Win with FamilyWize!

We’re pleased to have achieved two major milestones this year in our mission to help you afford your medications:
  • More than 10 million people have been helped by our free Prescription Savings Card 
  • More than $1 billion has been saved, helping individuals and families nationwide afford the medications they need to live healthier lives
Today we’re kicking off our celebration with the Milestones Sweepstakes! There are 2 ways to enter the sweepstakes, and you could win one of the many prizes we’re offering, including:
  • 1 $500 Grand Prize Gift Card to a local pharmacy or grocery store of your choice
  • 20 $50 Gift Cards to a local pharmacy or grocery store of your choice 
  • 10 Bluetooth Pedometers
How can you participate? It’s quick and easy!

If you already have our Free Prescription Savings Card, all you have to do is share your experience by telling us your story using FamilyWize. If you don’t have a card yet, you can enter for a chance to win by downloading the FamilyWize app, printing a copy of the card, or ordering one by mail, while answering a few quick questions.

Help us celebrate our story by telling us yours today!

Learn more about the Milestones Sweepstakes and tell us your story here.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Five Reasons to Get the Flu Shot - And Save!

Here comes flu season – is your family ready? Although flu season peaks from December through March, now is the time to prepare by taking preventative measures that will keep your family – and those around you – healthy this year.

The most certain way to protect yourself against the flu is the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for anyone six months of age or older.

Of course, many of us come up with excuses to avoid getting the shot – no time, a fear of needles, or “you never get sick.” Well, toss those excuses aside because there are plenty of good reasons for making the flu shot a priority this year.
  1. Studies show that the flu vaccination works! For most, it effectively prevents contraction of the flu. Save your sick days for another time!
  2. Some people do still get the flu despite having had the flu shot; however, the vaccination often makes the illness milder and more manageable. 
  3. When you get the vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself from the flu, you are also protecting those around you, especially those who may be more vulnerable to the flu, such as the very young, the very old, and those whose immune systems are already compromised by certain medical conditions (many of whom cannot receive the vaccination themselves). For these individuals, the flu can be more serious or even deadly. According to the CDC, during recent flu seasons, between 80- 90% of flu-related deaths occurred in people 65 years and older. 
  4. Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization from more serious flu outcomes. The CDC reports that the flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit admission by a whopping 74% during flu season. Another study showed that the flu vaccination resulted in a 71% reduction in flu-related hospitalizations among adults, and even greater among older adults. 
  5. The flu shot helps protect women during pregnancy, and it even protects their babies for up to six months after they are born.
If you don’t get your flu shot due to cost, we can help. In fact, we can also help alleviate the cost of flu-related medications. There are many ways to save; for example:
 We hope that you and your family stay healthy this flu season!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Top Tips for Fall Savings During Back-to-School Season

If you have school-aged children, fall typically means back-to-school season, which means spending. From an updated wardrobe to accommodate your growing kids, to school supplies and technology, it’s understandable to seek out ways to save – and we can help. Check out these ideas and tips for preparing your student(s) for the school year without breaking the bank. Even if no one in your home is headed back to school, these tips can apply to any fall purchases, from clothing and boots to household items.

The first tip may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but taking inventory can result in great savings. Here’s how to get started:
  • Clothing: Evaluate what still fits, what can be passed on to another child, and what won’t work for anyone. If still in good condition, items that no longer fit anyone in your household can be taken to your closest consignment shop, which may result in cash back if your items sell. Take stock of footwear and accessories in this manner, too. Utilize what you have available, and capitalize on what won’t work.
  • Gear/Supplies: Check backpacks, desks, and closets for any supplies, i.e. lunch bags, pens and pencils, and binders, leftover from last year that can still be used. Don’t overlook these “leftovers,” which can result in significant fall savings.
  • Technology: Evaluate your family’s needs with a critical eye. Do you need one computer or more? Do you have a student going off to college who requires a laptop? Only buy what is truly a priority.
Once you take inventory, make a detailed list of your family’s needs. Before you head to the store, reach out to family, friends, and neighbors who are also preparing to head back to school and host a swap – what is no longer useful for your family may be useful for another family – or vice versa. After the swap, revise your list to only those items that you still truly need. Stick to your list while you’re doing back-to-school shopping. While it’s easy to sway from your list for just one item, then another, this can quickly lead to overspending.

Your next step should be to determine a strategy. First, find coupons for items you need through sites such as or Also, compare prices. It might be necessary to shop at more than one store to find the best prices on the items you need. Research sales online before you head to the store to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Additional tips:
  • Remember: Unless a school uniform is required, kids can usually wear many summer items for the first few weeks of school before transitioning into the fall season. Then, they can add layers of additional clothing as needed. Take advantage of this extra time and put off additional spending for a few weeks, which can help your household’s cash flow.
  • Don’t forget to check out consignment and second-hand shops, especially for trendy pieces, which are usually more expensive but don’t stay in style for very long. 
  • When purchasing notebooks, binders, and other school supplies, stick with the plain and simple version. Those with specialty characters and themes may cost 20-30% more. Your kids can have fun customizing their own supplies with stickers and other add-ons. Have a back-to-school afternoon, creating unique looks for school supplies and excitement for the new school year. 
  • Some municipalities/cities offer back-to-school supplies free of charge at local events. Check your local listings for programs near you, which can offer significant fall savings for your family.
Back-to-school time doesn’t mean you need to fall into a spending trap. There are a lot of ways to find the best for less this fall.

And, of course, going back to school can also mean the return of illnesses for your family, as flu season hits and your kids are back in an environment more likely to spread germs. Stay ahead of the game and get your free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card to ensure that you’re paying the lowest price on all the prescription medications your family may need.

Download a free card online today or request a card by calling 1-800-222-2818. You can also get the free FamilyWize app, available for both Android at the Google Play Store and Apple Devices (iPhone and iPad) at the App Store.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Healthy Aging Month - Caring for the Elderly

 As the chorus of the 1970s Bill Withers song goes, “Lean on me when you’re not strong, and I’ll help you carry on.” But those words can take on a new meaning as your loved ones age. Sometimes, in spite best efforts, the effects of aging, such as reduced mental and physical function, strip away independence and require help from a family member or caregiver.

With the approach of September’s Healthy Aging Month, this is an ideal time to evaluate the health status of your loved ones and potentially prepare for a future role as a caregiver. This can be overwhelming, but the following tips will make the transition easier, whether you or someone else will be looking after the person.

Tip #1 – View institutionalization as a last resort

Nursing home placement is rarely the first choice of the elderly, or their relatives, and for good reason. No matter how good the institution is, being placed in a nursing home can be traumatic, not to mention costly.

Finding workable alternative solutions that allow the aging person to stay in their home, or at least with those they know and love, is preferable. Keeping familiar surroundings and faces in the person’s daily life eliminates the stress that can occur when being moved to a nursing home.

Tip #2 – Find intermediate solutions involving close friends or family

Though this may be hard to find, a loved one living nearby may be able to extend the aging person’s independence by dropping in regularly to assist where it’s needed, whether that’s in the form of housekeeping, cooking, or personal care.

If you’re too busy to take on the extra work, consider hiring a younger relative, such as teenager or responsible adolescent in the family who could use a little extra spending money. It creates welcome social interaction and can be valuable job training for the person helping out.

Tip #3 – Seek professional intermediate solutions

If there is no one available among family and friends, there are many resources to assist professionally at home. For example:
  • If the aging person is already in a retirement community, research the transitional services available on-site – staff resources who can check in on your relative and assist with certain tasks that have become too difficult for them.
  • If living in their home, there are many in-home care provider services available, some of which are government subsidized. These services provide regular in-home visits to handle personal or household tasks.

Tip #4 – Look for electronic support

To help an aging elder to stay safe while maintaining a degree of independence, consider gadgets that can help. For example:
  • A wearable alarm button, often referred to as a Senior Alert Device or a Medical Alert for Seniors, that is manually activated by the person by clicking a button on the device – often a bracelet or necklace. Most operate like cellular mobile devices, connecting the wearer to selected loved ones or to a company operator, who can determine if emergency personnel should be called.
  • Wearables that monitor vital signs are part of a growing medical devices trend, including ECG monitors, glucose monitors, blood pressure, and pulse monitors. The wearable device tracks patients' movements and vitals, and then sends health measurements to caregivers or to their doctor. 
  • For a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, you can get assistance devices that are worn around the neck and that boldly state on them that the wearer has mental impairment. When activated, it connects to selected friends or relatives. These are valuable if the person has wandered away from home and is lost or confused.

Tip #5 – Save them money on their prescription medicines

Many of the elderly are on numerous medications, the cost of which can really add up! Help your elderly friend or relative sign up for a free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card. Now more than ever, they can benefit from discounts of 43%, on average. If you are responsible for picking up prescriptions for that person, you can use your own FamilyWize card to save on their behalf.

Download a free card online today or request a card by calling 1-800-222-2818. You can also get the free FamilyWize app, available for both Android at the Google Play Store and Apple Devices (iPhone and iPad) at the App Store.

It can be difficult to watch a loved one age, but it’s possible to help them do so with grace and dignity.