Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Getting the Facts on Glaucoma

Currently, more than three million people in the United States suffer from glaucoma. According to the National Eye Institute, this number is expected to rise to about 4.2 million by the year 2030. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to learn more about the disease - and how to help prevent it.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a classification of diseases that damage your optic nerve, which carries images from your eye to your brain. The Glaucoma Research Foundation calls it "the sneak thief of sight," as there are no symptoms. In addition, any loss of vision permanent; you can lose as much as 40% of your eyesight without noticing. It is progressive and irreversible, and initial vision loss from glaucoma is to your peripheral (side) vision, so if you have it, you may not notice anything until significant vision is lost.
The onset of glaucoma often results in the complete loss of eyesight. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind as a result of glaucoma, with over 120,000 of those people in the United States alone.

The most common type of glaucoma is hereditary. Siblings of people with glaucoma are at a much greater risk. It can affect people of any age, but usually occurs to the elderly and people of middle age.

There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and Angle-Closure Glaucoma. Both are identified by an increase of pressure inside the eye.
When optic nerve damage has occurred despite a normal nerve pressure, this is called normal tension glaucoma.

Secondary glaucoma can occur when a different disease contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss. Read about this and other types of glaucoma here.

How can glaucoma be prevented?

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness and is the leading cause of preventable blindness. A number of factors can put you at higher risk. This includes:
  • People of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent 
  • People over 60 
  • Family members of those already diagnosed 
  • Diabetics 
  • Those who are severely nearsighted
Raising awareness is the key to prevention. Though glaucoma’s most common form has virtually no symptoms, a comprehensive eye examination can reveal its presence and allow you to begin treatment immediately.

The right treatment for glaucoma depends upon the type of glaucoma you have as well as other factors. Although there is no cure, medication or surgery can help slow or prevent further vision loss. This is why awareness and early detection are vital to stopping the progress of the disease.

Learn more

The resources below can help you increase your awareness and understanding of glaucoma:
Remember that regular eye exams are especially important for those at higher risk, and may help to prevent vision loss. If you have been diagnosed with the disease, it's important to follow your treatment as instructed by your doctor, including taking your medication exactly as prescribed. However, recent studies have shown that many people in the United States skip their medication, due to the high costs associated with them.

free prescription savings card like the one offered by FamilyWize can help make medication more affordable, even if you have insurance. Last year, the FamilyWize card saved an average of 43% on prescription medications. Everyone is eligible and there are no restrictions, so if you're concerned about the price of your prescription or know someone who is struggling to pay for their medication, the card can be a great way to save.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Friday, January 22, 2016

Solutions for Progress: Our New Partner in Savings!

Our goal at FamilyWize is to help improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities by lowering the out-of-pocket costs for prescription medication. We’re dedicated to making life more affordable for people, which is why we’re so excited to announce our partnership with Solutions for Progress (SfP), a 20-year-old company dedicated to helping low- and moderate-income individuals move out of poverty.

SfP offers cloud-based services that help people with limited incomes meet their financial needs. Their services include MyBudgetCoach, an online financial coaching service, as well as The Benefit Bank, an online service that combines a benefits screener, benefits application filer and IRS-certified tax assistance and filing.

SfP’s mission of using proven outreach techniques and cloud-based technology to help families stabilize, manage and grow their household finances makes them the perfect new partner to support FamilyWize’s goal to help make prescription medication more affordable for all.

Through their network, SfP will be helping to distribute the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card, which is absolutely free for anyone to obtain and use. In 2014, the FamilyWize card saved an average of 42 percent on prescriptions, with over $935 million saved since 2005!

Those who want to learn more about Solutions for Progress can visit their website at www.solutionsforprogress.com.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How to Stay Healthy as a Family this New Year

If you're interested in getting healthier, the New Year is a great opportunity to connect with your family and make plans to accomplish positive changes together. By setting goals now, you can reap the benefits for the entire year. Read on for some suggestions on how to stay healthy and fit as a family in 2016.

Eating Well

A healthy lifestyle begins with a healthy diet. Start eating meals that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Choose foods at the grocery store that are unprocessed and lower in fat and sugar. By preparing meals and eating them as a family instead of going to a restaurant or ordering takeout, you can ensure that everyone is eating healthy and enjoying quality time together. For snack suggestions, check out our post on healthy snack options for ideas on what to have instead of junk food, which is often high in sugar or salt.


Did you know that family members are more likely to keep up an active lifestyle if they're engaging in one together? This winter, choose fun activities that the whole family can enjoy, like sledding, skating or even having a snowball fight in the yard. In warmer weather, try biking, hiking or going to the beach.

And don’t forget to set goals. According to Let’s Move, America,  you should plan for at least 30 minutes of activity three times per week.

Maintaining Good Mental Health

Mental health is just as important as physical health when it comes to your overall wellness. If you suffer from high stress levels, use techniques like exercise or meditation, which can help manage your mood. How much you socialize is also an important factor, so group activities are best. Incorporating healthier habits in your diet and exercise routines can also give you more energy and lead to a more positive outlook.

Financial concerns can also be a major cause of stress. In many cases, people who need a prescription or take one regularly often skip doses or fail to fill their prescription entirely. This can affect your entire well-being - both mental and physical. That's why FamilyWize is proud to offer a free prescription savings card that can save you money just by showing it to your pharmacist when you pick up your medication. It's completely cost-free to use, can be used an unlimited number of times, and everyone is eligible, insured and uninsured.

The image of a healthy parent is an important one. Kids will mimic your habits and lifestyle, so it’s just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the rest of the family. By making plans and setting concrete goals, you can help ensure that 2016 is your healthiest year yet!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Thyroid Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

What is your thyroid? It’s a tiny butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, and while it may be small, thyroid issues can cause a whole range of serious health problems that can result in expensive medical bills. January is Thyroid Awareness Month, making it a great time to learn more about this important part of your body.

The thyroid is one of your endocrine glands, which produces hormones that affect your breathing, digestion, and heart rate. It helps you use energy, stay warm, and keep your organs working properly; In addition, your thyroid plays a role in regulating your body temperature. The more hormones your thyroid produces, the faster these systems in your body go. These systems working together are known as your metabolism.

According to the National Institute of Health, about 1 in 20 Americans over the age of 12 have an underactive thyroid, a condition known as hyperthyroidism. This causes bodily functions to slow down. A much smaller number of Americans, about 1 in 100, have hypothyroidism, an overactive thyroid, which can also cause problems.

Aside from these conditions, other health issues related to your thyroid include goiter, when your thyroid gland enlarges, thyroiditis or swelling of the thyroid, and thyroid nodules, which appear as small lumps in your neck. Thyroid nodules are extremely common and usually harmless, but it’s best to have them checked by a doctor to make sure they aren’t related to thyroid cancer.

In many cases, a thyroid condition can be difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms can seem unrelated. If you have an overactive thyroid, you may be prescribed medication that will help you regulate the flow of hormones. For an underactive thyroid, artificial hormones can help.

The cost of prescription medication can really add up, especially if you take them each month for long-term conditions or chronic diseases. If you’re looking for ways to save on your prescription medication bills, or simply interested in spending less money, free prescription savings card like the one offered by FamilyWize can be a great option.

The FamilyWize card can save you up to 75% off the total cost of your prescription medication, simply by showing it to your pharmacist when you pick up your prescription. It even works if you have insurance - simply show the pharmacist your FamilyWize card in addition to your insurance card, and ask for the lowest price. So if you’re taking medication for your thyroid, or are simply trying to spend less money in the New Year, print out a free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card or download the free app on your smartphone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ring in the New Year With a Resolution to Save!

The holiday season has come to a close, and resolutions have been set for the New Year. Now comes the hard part - sticking with them! According to Nielsen, the most popular resolutions include getting healthier, getting organized, and spending less money. However, research shows that 92% of Americans fail to achieve the resolutions they set.

Why does this happen? There are several reasons. Many people set unrealistic goals, while others don't develop a plan - they set a resolution without knowing how they're going to achieve it. 

By setting small, manageable goals and taking concrete steps to meet them, reaching your New Year's resolution suddenly becomes much easier. And if you're trying to save money in 2016, your medicine cabinet can be one of the best places to start. This year, help meet your New Year's resolutions by being smart with your prescriptions!

The first step to saving money with your medication is to make sure you are using them properly. Check the labels to make sure you are taking your medications as prescribed and that you are storing them correctly. While many Americans attempt to cut healthcare costs by taking less medication than they've been instructed, this ultimately has the opposite effect: the cost of non-adherence to the healthcare system is an estimated $290 billion annually.

If you're taking any name-brand medications, you may want to try talking to your doctor to see if there are any generic alternatives he or she can recommend. In many cases, generic medication can be a less expensive, but equally effective option. For more information, see our earlier blog post about generic prescription medication.

Even if you take generic drugs, prescriptions can often be costly, especially if you don't have insurance. That's why it's smart to take advantage of prescription savings cards like the one offered by FamilyWize. These cards can be a great resource for saving more on your medication and staying healthy.

The FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card offers an average savings of 42% on retail prescription prices and has no eligibility requirements. You can use it whether you're insured or uninsured, and getting savings is easy - simply show it to your pharmacist when you're picking up a prescription, and ask them for the lowest price.  You can also compare prices in your neighborhood at home by using the FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool.  

You can print out or order your own FamilyWize card on our website, or download the free smartphone app, available on iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone. It’s a great tool for saving money, even if you have insurance, so make sure to always bring your FamilyWize card when you're making a trip to the pharmacy. Happy New Year, and enjoy the savings!