Monday, November 30, 2015

The Huffington Post: 8 Questions To Ask Your Pharmacist

More than 4 billion prescriptions were filled at retail pharmacies in 2014, according to data from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Of those prescriptions, roughly half to three-quarters were used incorrectly, says pharmacist Linda Bernstein, a volunteer clinical professor at University of California-San Francisco School of Pharmacy and a spokeswoman for familywize.org. Whether it’s a medication you’ve been taking for 20 years or just a few days, it’s important to ask your pharmacist these seemingly obvious but crucial questions…

To learn which questions you should be asking, read the full article from Huffington Post Healthy Living here

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Your Complete Guide to Medicare Open Enrollment

Choosing your own health plan can be an intimidating and often confusing process, particularly for those who are already enrolled in Medicare but are interested in how other plans on the market compare with Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D.

With Open Enrollment season ending December 7th, time is running out to select the plan that fits your needs along with your budget. Fortunately, our friends at My Medicare Matters have developed a guide to help you through it.



The Complete Guide to Medicare Open Enrollment gives you an overview of the essential facts of the Open Enrollment period, including when it starts and ends, which parts of your Medicare plan you can change, and when your new coverage will begin. It also lets you know who should consider changing their coverage during this period; for example, certain people may find plans that offer better prescription drug coverage than their current plan, while others may need to switch in order to keep their doctor in-network. You can also sign up for reminders by email to learn more about when Open Enrollment starts and ends.

Not sure how your current Medicare plan stacks up? Use My Medicare Matters’ short Medicare Questionnaire. By answering a few simple questions, you will be provided with an online price comparison tool that will allow you to do your own research and find the plan that is right for you.



We’ve partnered with My Medicare Matters because like us, they are dedicated to offering free, easy ways to help people save money on their health. Together with our free Prescription Savings Card, which saved an average of 42% off the retail cost of prescription medication in 2014, there are more options than ever to help people, insured or uninsured, save on the rising cost of proper healthcare.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

United Way of Miami-Dade Reaches $10 Million Saved With FamilyWize

This week we're celebrating an important milestone with our partners at United Way of Miami-Dade. They've helped their community save over $10 million on prescription medications by sharing the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card with people in need!

United Way of Miami-Dade, an organization focused on improving the health and well-being of individuals and families in their area, began partnering with FamilyWize in 2008. We're happy to report that the card has helped more than 140,000 people in Miami-Dade!

“The United Way/FamilyWize partnership has proven to be successful in our community, allowing people to save money while making proper, healthy decisions,” said Harve A. Mogul, the president and CEO of United Way of Miami-Dade. “We are proud of reaching this $10 million milestone and will continue to do all we can to keep our community healthy.”

Since 1924, United Way of Miami-Dade has been an innovative force for their community, successfully responding to emerging needs and transforming people’s lives. We are proud to partner with organizations that share our vision for a stronger community and embody the spirit of collaboration.

Celebrate with us

If you live in the Miami-Dade area, come join us as we help United Way to celebrate this milestone at the Borinquen Health and Education Fair  on November 21.

The fair is from 9 AM - 4 PM, and will feature various free health screenings and educational materials for attendees, plus food, music, and gift cards, while supplies last. We will also be offering free flu shots as part of our partnership with Walgreens.

You needn’t be a Miami-Dade resident to benefit from the FamilyWize card’s discounts. In fact, pharmacies throughout the U.S. accept the FamilyWize card, including CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Kmart, Costco, Publix, and Target, and more! For a full list of participating pharmacies or to look up drug prices, visit www.familywize.org.

For the past 10 years, we have lowered the cost of medication for people without insurance or take medications not covered by their health plan - and even for those with insurance, the card often gives the better discount. Here's what you should know about the FamilyWize card:
  • It has unlimited use
  • Getting one does not require any personal information from you
  • There is no eligibility criteria
  • If you’re a business owner or employer, you can request FamilyWize cards in bulk for your employees
To print a card, go to familywize.org/card, or request a card by calling us toll-free at 800-222-2818. You can also download a card through the smartphone app.

And if you haven't done so yet, get your free copy of our Live Healthy. Live Smart.® eBook. This educational guide provides valuable information about prescription medications — from how to talk to your pharmacist to how to get the best prices at the pharmacy.

We are dedicated to improving people's lives by helping to make their prescription medication more affordable. With help from organizations like United Way of Miami-Dade, our goal looks more achievable than ever.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What You Should Know About Generic Medication

You probably already know that generic prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are often cheaper than the name-brand version. However, you may have questions over what exactly "generic" means, and if the lower price means the medication won't work as well. We’re here to help you learn the facts about generic medicine.
Fact #1: Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a generic medication as “a drug product that is comparable to a brand name/reference listed drug product in dosage form, strength, quality, and performance characteristics, and intended use.” The term generic refers to both over-the-counter and prescription medications that have no brand name or registered trademark. A familiar example of a brand name product is Tylenol®, whose generic term is acetaminophen.

The FDA imposes strict standards for the approval of generic drugs, and follows up on these standards through enforcement. Generic products purchased in the U.S. need to be the “bioequivalent” of a name brand, meaning they must have the same active ingredients as their brand counterpart.
Fact #2: Generic drugs are not available for all brand name products
The generic version of a drug is rarely made available until the original brand name manufacturer’s product goes “off patent,” at which time it is no longer subject to patent protection. It usually takes about 20 years for this to occur. Once the patent has expired, other drug companies can then manufacture and sell the generic version of the medication after the FDA has tested and approved it.

Fact #3: Generic prescriptions are required in some circumstances
Unless your doctor mandates on the prescription that no substitutions are permitted, pharmacists in most states are required to dispense the generic version of a drug. In addition, many insurance plans mandate that, when available, the generic form of a drug must be dispensed. To be certain you’re getting the savings available to you via generic alternatives, ask your pharmacist if substituting a generic form of your brand name prescription product is possible. Your pharmacist is trained to know which generic products are acceptable substitutes for the prescription medicine’s brand name product.
Fact #4: Generic forms sometimes cannot be used
Sometimes, a small variation in the amount of drug in the blood stream can make a big difference in how a medicine works. Consequently, switching from a brand to a generic form of the medicine is sometimes inadvisable. Before asking to be switched to a generic, you should always consult your doctor and pharmacist first.  
Fact #5: Generic drugs save you money
According to an economic analysis by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), U.S. consumers save an average of $3 billion every week by buying generic alternatives over name-brand medication. The price of generic medications can be up to 90% less than name-brand prescription equivalents, with average savings closer to 80-85%, according to the FDA.

More on generic drugs and saving on prescriptions

For more tips about generic drugs, check out our free Live Healthy, Live Smart® eBook, which we’re offering to celebrate our 10th anniversary of helping individuals, families, and communities save money on their medication. For more facts and data on prescriptions, visit the FDA’s Facts About Generic Drugs and Understanding Generic Drugs fact page. For further information, check out WebMD’s guide to generic drugs.

Want to save even more on your prescriptions? Try using the free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card, which is accepted at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide and covers all FDA approved prescription medications. You’ll get an average savings of 42% on medication costs - or sometimes, as high as 75%! Simply print out a card from FamilyWize.org or download the free FamilyWize app to start saving today.


Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Best Ways to Save on Prescription Medication


The rising cost of prescription medications is a huge burden for many Americans. The good news is that there are ways you can take control. Here are some great tips that can help you save money on your prescription medication.

Go Generic

Whenever the option is available, you can save substantially by choosing generic drugs over brand-name. Generic drugs have the same ingredients, dosage, intended use, side effects, and strength as the original drug. The only difference is that it’s usually much cheaper than its brand-name counterparts – in many cases, 30-80% less!

Compare Prices At Your Local Pharmacies


The cost of a drug can vary from one pharmacy to the next, sometimes significantly. When choosing a pharmacy, compare before you commit.

The FamilyWize  Drug Price Lookup Tool is the perfect tool for this. You can use the tool to check and compare prices at different pharmacies. Simply enter your zip code and the name of the drug you’ve been prescribed, and the tool will search your neighborhood, giving you a list of where the drug is available, and at what price.


Use a Prescription Savings Card

Our free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card saved an average of 42% off your retail prescription costs, or $29.14 per prescription, based on our data from 2014. In some cases, the savings with the card go as high as 75%! The FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card can oftentimes give you a better deal than your insurance, so whenever you go to the pharmacy, always show your FamilyWize card in addition to your insurance, and ask your pharmacist for the lowest price.

Use Common Savings Strategies

What works for saving money on general consumer purchases may also work with prescription purchases. For example:
  • Check out the pharmacy counters at big-box stores and club stores – they may offer better discounts than you can get through insurance.
  • If it’s a drug that you need long-term and that doesn’t expire too quickly, look for seasonal discounts or sales and stock up.
  • Look for offers and special deals from your local pharmacies.
  • If your insurance company doesn’t cover your medicine, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about alternatives that may be just as effective but cost less money.
  • See if your insurer has a preferred pharmacy or mail order service to help you get the best prices.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if you can eliminate any of them safely.
Remember, no matter which strategy you use to save, taking your medication is crucial to staying healthy. A 2013 Consumer Reports poll revealed that more than 50 percent of us are taking potentially dangerous risks to reduce costs associated with our prescriptions, such as skipping doses, taking expired drugs, or not filling our prescriptions at all.

For more common sense tips on prescription drug safety and cost savings strategies, check out our free Live Healthy, Live Smart® eBook. We’re offering you this free booklet of tips to celebrate our 10th anniversary of helping individuals, families, and communities save money on their medication.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer