Showing posts with label FamilyWize. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FamilyWize. Show all posts

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, August 8, 2016

Know Your Price: The FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool



 Are you overpaying for your prescription medications? Many of us are simply because we aren’t sure how or where to find the most affordable price for a particular medication. While the cost for the same drug may differ significantly from one pharmacy to the next, even in your own neighborhood, it can take a significant amount of time and research to determine which pharmacy you should go to. We’ve got good news: finding the best price is easy, thanks to the FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool.

The FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool is free and easily accessible on the FamilyWize website. All you need to know is the name of your medication, the dosage, and the zip code for the area where you’d like to visit the pharmacy.

FamilyWize takes that information and displays the price you’ll pay for your prescription at a variety of pharmacies (if you use the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card). Armed with this information, you can make the best choice about which pharmacy to visit, knowing that you’ll be paying the lowest price available.

The FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool


Using the Drug Price Lookup Tool couldn’t be easier; in fact, it’s right on the homepage of the website! It looks like this:


Simply type in the name of your medication and then enter your zip code, or the zip code where you plan to visit a pharmacy. Click the “See your savings” button, and voil√†!

In this example, we entered Zoloft as the drug and 37401 (Chattanooga, TN) as the zip code. The results provide key comparison facts, such as the dose form, the strength, and the quantity, so you know that you’re comparing apples to apples – or, in this case, 30 Zoloft 100 MG tablets to 30 Zoloft 100 MG tablets.

You can also sort the price range from low to high, filter by generic or brand name medication, select major pharmacies only versus all pharmacies available, and choose the maximum distance for the location of the pharmacies.


The results then list the area pharmacies that carry your medication (in this example, it’s Zoloft) and the exact price you’ll pay at each if you use the free FamilyWize card or app. For Zoloft, the prices varied from as little as $10.99 to as much as $27.48 – nearly double the price! If this were a monthly prescription for you, the difference over the course of a full year would be significant.
Start saving with FamilyWize

FamilyWize makes it easy for you to save. The FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool is a free and easy way to comparison shop for your prescriptions, but that’s only one step. Insurance or not, you can save significantly – an average of 43% – on your prescriptions with the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card.

The free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card ensures that you’re paying the lowest price, whether it’s the pharmacy’s, the insurance price, or the FamilyWize price.

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, 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.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rogue Pharmacies—A Danger to Your Health AND Wallet

Sure, who doesn't want to save a buck or two these days?  With the high cost of prescription medicines, many are tempted by the enticingly cheap prices of drugs they see at online pharmacies.  Before you get too curious yourself, you’ll want to know the results of an alarming 2013 report by The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Whether or not you use the free FamilyWize discount card, we consider it a public service to let you know the latest news on the high risks of buying drugs from online pharmacies.

Trustworthy online pharmacies will always require you to have a doctor's prescription for your medication


Are all online pharmacies bad?


You likely know the expression, “One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch.”  But when it comes to the reliability of online pharmacies today, it turns out that 97 out of every 100 of them are bad apples, according to The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).   In their January report, involving nearly 11 thousand online pharmacies, the NABP discovered a full 97 percent were out of compliance with U.S. laws.

And this isn't just an overseas problem – the danger is right here in the U.S..  According to the NABP, 9,938 of the rogue online pharmacies identified as being businesses not recommended for U.S. consumers, roughly half of them are selling drugs to U.S. residents, drugs that are of foreign origin or that have not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

These rogue pharmacies are often disguising themselves to their prospective online customers as being of Canadian or American origin—not hard to do with simple website design—and yet they are often operating their business from other countries, many that have lax or no regulatory controls in place. 

How dangerous is this situation?  Potentially deadly. Many of these unregulated pharmacies, the NABP reports, are also selling counterfeit, expired, adulterated, or contaminated drugs.  If you are not getting the drug that’s on the label, not getting it in the correct dosages (too strong or too weak, due to lack of standardization in manufacturing), or getting drugs that have unapproved fillers or additives, your very life could be in danger.  According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), even slight differences in your medicine can make a big difference in safety.  Medicine that is not FDA approved, even if it was approved by another country will like have variations or different ingredients that the FDA says can cause you to get sicker, develop a resistance to your medicine, or cause new side effects. 

The FDA warms that your risk increases if you take more than one medication, as the differences between what you were expecting to take and what you may  be actually taking from a questionable pharmacy could also affect the way other medicines work or cause harmful interactions.


Not just health risks, but financial risks as well


The FDA is concerned enough about these unregulated online pharmacies to use uncharacteristically harsh language, calling them “fake online pharmacies” in this article.  Their concern is based on the fake pharmacies’ lack of adequate safeguards to protect not just your health from their products, but the potential danger to your personal and financial information from either careless or intentionally malicious practices with the information you provide during your online transaction.  In some cases, the fake pharmacy sites exist only to infect your computer with viruses or sell your personal information to other rogue websites and Internet scams—you’ll never receive your purchased drug, just a nightmare of financial trouble.


Efforts to stop rogue pharmacies


Some good news:  Because of the NABD report’s discoveries and other recent efforts, collaborative U.S. and cross-border enforcement efforts are under way:
  • One such operation, the 100-country Operation Pangea, brought about the shutdown of literally thousands of rogue pharmacy sites.
  • LegitScript.com produced evidence of fake drug sites that resulted in about 5 thousand rogue sites getting shut down.
  • The FDA has started BeSafeRx, a national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of buying prescription medicines from fake online pharmacies. This campaign provides the resources to help consumers know the risks of online pharmacies, identify rogue online pharmacies, and how to find reliable online pharmacies.
As well, the NABP is taking steps to curb rogue pharmacies by working to form a .pharmacy Web domain, which will only be made available to legitimate online pharmacies, just as the .gov domain today is only available to government agencies.  The effort is not in place yet, but will go far to helping consumers easily identify the real online pharmacies from the fakes.


How do I find trustworthy online pharmacies?


Yes, there are legit, licensed, reliable online pharmacies—the “good apples.” How do you identify them?  Look to the FDA for help.  Medicine that is approved for use in the United States has been reviewed for safety and effectiveness by the FDA.  The FDA offers the following characteristics to help you identify safe online pharmacies. A reliable online prescription drug store will always:
  • Require you to have a doctor’s prescription.
  • Have a license with your state board of pharmacy.
  • Provide a verifiable physical address and telephone number in the United States.
  • Offer a pharmacist to answer your questions.
How can you know if an online pharmacy is licensed to do business in your state?  Easy; just check out the FDA’s Find your state’s pharmacy licensing database search engine. 


Safe ways to save money on your prescriptions


FamilyWize can help.  Whether you seek to buy your prescription drugs online or at your neighborhood drug store, you can save up to 75 percent on prescription medication just by printing and presenting your FREE prescription card from FamilyWize.org.  FamilyWize functions like a huge consumer group buying service for the uninsured and underinsured. The medication discounts are provided voluntarily by the more than 61,000 participating pharmacies that have agreed to provide prices similar to what they give large insurance companies and employers.  To learn more, see How the Discount Card Works, look up drug prices, or look up participating pharmacies.


Ric Moxley 
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 9, 2012

FamilyWize Joins United Way at College Prep Fair

Over the weekend of October 6 and 7, FamilyWize joined our friends at the United Way of New York City at the New Futuro 2012 Brighter Futures College Prep Fair for Latino Students and Families, the largest free college prep fair for Latinos. New Futuro is an organization that works with the Hispanic community to help students get into college and achieve their career goals by offering free bilingual support and resources to students and their families.

costs of college
FamilyWize attends New Futuro 2012 college prep fair.


Students and their families were invited from all over New York City to attend the college fair, which was held at Lehman College in the Bronx, and learn how to prepare and pay for college. Students had the chance to meet with hundreds of college representatives and community groups, attend workshops, and win scholarships.

With the help of our amazing volunteers, Joyce Klemperer and Marta Nunez, we were able to talk with hundreds of New Yorkers of all ages who didn’t know about the FamilyWize card. They were all excited to learn that help was available, once they got over their initial disbelief that it was too good to be true! Every dollar saved counts, especially when you are saving for college. We were all thrilled to be able to give out the discount cards and help these students save for their future.


United Way
Students learning ways to save for the costs of college.

We believe that it’s never too early to start thinking about the costs of college or saving money, so we were delighted to meet the students from Mosaic Preparatory Academy. This group of 2nd to 5th graders spent their Saturday morning at the fair picking up tips on how to start getting ready for college. When they stopped by our table to pick up some FamilyWize prescription drug cards they really impressed us with their dedication to their futures. We sent them home with cards and FamilyWize reusable shopping bags. 

costs of college
Young people attend New Futuro 2012 college prep fair
to prepare for the future with the help of
FamilyWize prescription drug cards.

We want to thank the United Way of New York City and New Futuro for inviting us to such a wonderful event and we wish the best of luck to all of the students we met!


Nora O'Brien
FamilyWize Staff member and Contributing Writer


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Unexpected Savings at Roosevelt Field Mall

There is no greater feeling than going to the mall, walking to your favorite store, and seeing a big sign offering discounts of up to 75% off on all of your most-desired items. For three days, FamilyWize provided this feeling to over 1,000 Roosevelt Field Mall shoppers in Long Island, NY.
Sharon Galzarano RPh in front of FamilyWize info center
Sharon Galzarano, RPh., in front of the FamilyWize information center
at Roosevelt Field Mall, Long Island, NY. 

For many people, though, prescription medications are much more important than buying a pair of jeans. While it’s okay to wear the same pair of jeans until you can afford another, this is not the case for medications. Several studies have shown that many people skip filling prescriptions in order to save money, and this has a long-term effect on one’s health and is actually more costly in the long run. How much more costly? One Health Affairs study published in 2011 claims that for every dollar spent on high blood pressure medication, for example, a patient will save an additional $10 on future hospitalizations, tests, or operations. In other words, by taking all medications correctly now, a patient will have a greater chance of avoiding expensive procedures in the future.

On October 19, 20 and 21, the FamilyWize marketing team distributed 1,800 prescription discount cards to mall shoppers. We also gave out Script Your Future wallet medicine reminder cards, pillboxes, reusable grocery bags, and Halloween glow sticks. 
FamilyWize giveaways at Roosevelt Field Mall
Among other things, our giveaways included the
NCL's wallet medicine reminder cards.

Most importantly, we offered visitors the opportunity to “Ask the Pharmacist,” Sharon Galzarano, RPh, questions about health and medications. We spoke to 232 of these visitors in greater detail, and here’s what we learned from them over the three days:

  • 67% are personally concerned or impacted by the cost of prescription drugs;
  • An additional 10%, while not personally impacted, have family members or friends without adequate prescription coverage;
  • Several visitors admitted to regularly skipping doses or re-filling prescriptions to save money;
  • Most visitors were extremely impressed with the wallet medicine reminder cards provided by the National Consumers League;
  • 100% of children really, really love glow sticks!
Nora speaks to a visitor about FamilyWize card
Nora speaks to a visitor about the benefits of the FamilyWize card and the
other tools we provide to increase wellness.  
We are extremely happy to have been able to celebrate National Pharmacists Month at Roosevelt Field Mall and to promote the message that the FamilyWize prescription discount card is not only a unique cost-savings tool, but also one of many tools to improve one’s overall well being.


Aura Mastraghin
FamiliyWize Marketing Team Member and Contributing Writer

 

Friday, October 26, 2012

FamilyWize Points Donegan Elementary in the Right Direction



COMPASS
Students at Donegan Elementary School
attend FamilyWize event.
On October 17, FamilyWize joined Donegan Elementary School in a ribbon-tying ceremony celebrating its introduction as the newest United Way COMPASS School in the Lehigh Valley, PA as its lead corporate sponsor. The FamilyWize initiative began in 2005 with the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley at the Fowler Family Center, located in Donegan. After recognizing and fulfilling a need within this localized community, CEO Dan Barnes points to Donegan and United Way as one of the key motivating forces that “challenged us to expand.” FamilyWize is so happy for the success it has gained since then and to have come full circle and be able to give back to the community in which it first gained a foothold toward success. Lehigh University also joined FamilyWize as the school’s sponsor.

The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s COMPASS program (Community Partners for Student Success) is an initiative that encourages community partnership with educational institutions to ensure that students have all the resources necessary to follow their dreams and pursue academic success. These resources are not only limited to financial sponsorship but especially focus on mentorship from leaders in the community. It encourages students to take part in community service projects and empowers parents to take a more active role within the student body. COMPASS emphasizes education, leadership and character development to help guide students toward a fulfilling future.

The United Way of the GLV states that the community school model focuses on the following elements, reported by the Coalition for Community Schools that have been proven to increase students’ learning potential:

  • Access to high quality early childhood programs
  • Quality education through high standards for all students
  • A wide range of positive youth development opportunities
  • Services that help students/families to meet their basic needs
  • Mutual respect and effective collaboration among parents, staff and the community
  • Safe and supportive learning environment

Susan Gilmore, President of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, noted that efforts to provide quality education for children in their community cannot be totally fulfilled by the United Way alone, but depend heavily on the support and partnership with businesses and individuals within the community. She spoke about leadership programs within the school, reading programs and activities at the school that were made possible through United Way and participation from the community. The Lehigh University Black Student Union also showed their support by taking part in a performance of “Lean on Me” by Donegal’s students. Some Lehigh University student athletes were also present and Lehigh University president, Alice Gast, discussed their involvement in the “Reading Rocks” program which drives home the importance of education in addition to students’ extracurricular activities.

A student at Donegan, although seemingly nervous, spoke to the crowd with great insight about how involvement from the community, Lehigh University students, United Way volunteers and local small business owners had positively impacted his experience in school.“I like telling people what to do”, he said. “And with the leadership programs here, I could.”  He also spoke about improvement in his reading skills and touted himself as an example of the types of students such partnerships could foster.

United Way
Part of the ribbon that was tied by Dan Barnes,
CEO and Co-Chair at FamilyWize.
When Dan Barnes spoke about FamilyWize’s relationship with Donegan Elementary school, he noted that it began further back than the business relationship that started in 2005. He told about his mother’s involvement with the school as a teacher and continued involvement as the coordinator between FamilyWize and Donegan, today.  Emphasizing the special relationship he has with Donegan both professionally and personally, Dan Barnes volunteered at Donegan when he was in middle school, reading to the younger children . He then tied a ribbon with the FamilyWize name onto a larger ribbon with the other community partners’ names, signifying multiple entities and institutions coming together to help usher in a new future for the students at Donegan Elementary School.

working in Bethlehem PA
It takes a village to make a school successful.
FamiliyWize is proud to embark on this journey
with the people of Lehigh Valley.
The faces of proud parents, students and teachers spoke volumes about how the United Way COMPASS movement inspired real faith and optimism in the community about the future of their school. Many of the speakers talked about their long history of participation in the Bethlehem Area school district. Visitors to the school got the sense that the audience was made up of much more than just individuals but rather a school community that has come together as a family to ensure that their children have the optimal potential for success. FamilyWize is excited and proud to embark on this new journey with them, toward helping improve the lives of people in the Lehigh Valley by creating happier, healthier communities through quality education and community involvement.

Christina Colon
Contributing Writer and FamilyWize Marketing Team Member


Friday, October 5, 2012

Walking for a cause: the unaBridged story


Last weekend, the FamilyWize marketing team had the opportunity to travel to the Brooklyn Bridge to participate in United Way of New York City’s LIVE UNITED Bridge Walk & Festival. According to United Way of NYC, every year “the LIVE UNITED Bridge Walk brings together thousands of individuals and teams from all sectors to raise awareness of the need to "bridge" critical gaps in educational achievement, income stability and access to healthy food for low-income New Yorkers.” During the event, thousands of participants walked across the Brooklyn Bridge before settling in Cadman Plaza for outdoor activities and the opportunity to receive valuable information from dozens of nonprofit organizations.


A view of Cadman Plaza during the LIVE UNITED Bridge Walk & Festival
A view of Cadman Plaza during the LIVE UNITED Bridge Walk & Festival

Here’s a fun fact about the bridge: when it was completed and opened for use in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the world, and the only land passage between Manhattan and Brooklyn! Since then, the Brooklyn Bridge was designated a National Historical Landmark, which makes it a perfect location for events that emphasize cultural and economic diversity and increase awareness for topics such as health, income, and education.


the FamilyWize marketing team speaks to a walker about our card
Nora and Holly speak to a walker about the FamilyWize card
The United Way of New York City volunteers did a great job entertaining walkers of all ages in Cadman Plaza by providing balloons and games for the kids, and informational materials for the adults. At the FamilyWize table in the Health Pavilion, we were happy to be able to give out prescription discount cards that people could use right away. The most common reaction we got after explaining the benefits of the card was disbelief, to which we replied, several times in one conversation, “Yes, really.”



Even dogs got to wear the LIVE UNITED t-shirts
Even four-legged friends enjoyed the LIVE UNITED t-shirts

The Bridge Walk was also a great reminder that nature can be just as engaging as technology, but significantly more fulfilling. We saw people in Cadman Plaza of all different ages walking, running and playing with one another. At more than one point throughout the morning, the plaza was flooded with walkers in LIVE UNITED t-shirts, some of them even four-legged!

Overall, our team gave out hundreds of cards to New Yorkers who struggle to afford their prescription medications, and we are thankful to the United Way of New York City for inviting us to this event. Regardless of walking for a cause, walking to work or walking for fun, this activity greatly contributes to a healthier lifestyle at absolutely no cost – kind of like using the FamilyWize card! And, if you’re ever in New York, the Brooklyn Bridge offers 5,988 feet of pure, unadulterated walking.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Osteoporosis - No Bones About It


Osteoporosis. That's a word that makes many people very anxious. It’s a common health issue in our society that leads to disability for many senior citizens, especially older women. Many of us have an elderly parent or grandparent who has fallen and suffered a fracture or who has trouble with the simple tasks of getting up from a chair and walking a short distance.

In the past, we believed that brittle bones and their resulting fractures were just a normal part of aging.  Now however, we know that these problems can be the result of risk factors, some are lifestyle habits that can be changed, like bad diet, smoking, too much alcohol or lack of exercise.Others are factors over which we have no control, like family history, post-menopause, having a light weight or thin body frame.


What is Osteoporosis?

Since bone is a living tissue, it is constantly being created and replaced in our bodies. Osteoporosis happens when old bone is absorbed faster than new bone can be created.  Osteoporosis weakness bones and makes them prone to breaking. When you have osteoporosis, a simple fall can easily result in a bone fracture.  Just bending over or coughing can cause fracturing when you have osteoporosis.  Most fractures happen in the hip, wrist or spine.

According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center, more than 40 million people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass.  That risk increases if you are female, elderly, small and thin.  Family history can also play a part since osteoporosis tends to run in families. 

Can Osteoporosis by prevented?


There are steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis.  These include early screening, osteoporosis medications, dietary supplements and weight-bearing exercises to strengthen your bones. 

Get Screened

The National Osteoporosis Foundation lists the following factors for having a bone density test:


calcium vitamin D
Mary Carr, diagnosed with Osteoporosis at age 65.
  • You are a woman age 65 or over
  • You are a man age 70 or over
  • Menopausal age with risk factors
  • Post-menopausal before age 65 with risk factors
  • A man between the ages of 50-69 with risk factors



Consider getting tested for osteopenia – a precursor to osteoporosis.  Osteopenia is a condition in which your bone mineral density is lower than normal.  A bone mineral density test can be used to diagnose osteoporosis.  Having Osteopenia does not mean you will develop osteoporosis, but knowing this gives you the chance to change your diet and lifestyle to reduce your likelihood of developing osteoporosis.  

At this point, you might be wondering if your insurance will cover a bone density test. Well, if you are a woman age 65 and over, it probably is covered. However, if you are younger and feel you are at risk, what can you do?  According to the WebMd, the test will be covered if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  •     A fracture
  •     You are postmenopausal
  •     You are not taking estrogen at menopause
  •     You are taking medications that cause bone thinning

You should check with your insurance provider to be certain that the test will be covered for you. However, even though there may be a cost involved, the information you get from having this valuable test will pay for itself in years to come. You will have the peace of mind of knowing that you have a chance to reverse and prevent bone loss before it is too late.

Osteopenia
Using a walker to get around, my mom used to be 5'4", now
she's 5'. Bone shrinkage due to Osteoporosis caused
curvature of the spine and painful compression fractures
in her back.

  
Weight-bearing Exercises

  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Jogging or running  
  • Climbing stairs
  • Lifting weights
  • Playing tennis
  • Dancing 

Calcium and Vitamin D


Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis.  Get vitamin D by eating foods such as salmon and tuna and foods fortified with vitamin D like orange juice, breads and cereals. Read our FamilyWize article Got Milk? Don’t Worry-Lot’s of Foods Are Calcium Rich!   for a list of foods that are great calcium sources.


Discounted Osteoporosis Medication


You may qualify for significant discounts – up to 75% off – on prescription medication for osteoporosis through the free FamilyWize prescription discount card.  

Some medications taken for common ailments like heartburn can affect osteoporosis, according to WebMd. Corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, could raise fracture risks. If you have osteoporosis or you are at risk to develop it, you should discuss this with your doctor. There may be an alternative medication that does not affect osteoporosis, or other measures you could take, like diet and exercise, that may counteract the affects of the medication.

You can also speak with your doctor to get more information and a better understanding of your risks. 

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer
 

Friday, September 21, 2012

New FamilyWize Team Members

Here at FamilyWize, we put out the welcome mat for two young ladies who joined the marketing team!

Aura Mastraghin graduated in May from University of Pennsylvania where she studied marketing with a special interest in creativity.

Love her name? Her mom and grandmother are both named Aurelia and her name is a creative spin off.  

In her spare time she likes to do "nerdy things." (Her words, not mine!)  One of those "nerdy things" is a video game called Age of Empires which is a real-time strategy game.  She is an only child and the proud mama of three cats--Bella, Tomba, and Indy.  

The one thing people would never guess about her is that she doesn't speak with a foreign accent.  If you're scratching your head, would explaining that she has only lived in the United States for a little over a decade explain it?  Aura moved to Philadelphia when she was 11 after her family won the Visa lottery.  Talk about luck!  Since she spent a while growing roots in Romania, she enjoys going back every year to visit her grandmother, aunt and cousin  as well as the friends  she has kept in contact with all these years.  

One thing that not too many people know about her is that she has never been to a football game! I told her she's not missing too much anyway.  There is a 50/50 chance of one of the teams winning. 

Aura will be responsible for the creative marketing aspects of the FamilyWize branding campaigns.  She builds messaging, imagery, creative content in line with the goals of the FamilyWize program.  Her strength in understanding the customer's experience helps drive her every project as she works to communicate our message and guide the team in reaching new communities to help.



Christina Colon graduated in May from DeSales University in Pennsylvania where she studied marketing and finance.   

She called herself a "Jersey Girl" up until recently when she moved to the keystone state to go to school and ended up moving in with some girlfriends after she graduated.  What's the one thing she misses about Jersey? Having her gas pumped!  In her spare time, she likes to get to know the city of Bethlehem where she recently moved with her friends who double as tour guides.  

When she's not at FamilyWize, she is a part-time hostess at a modern restaurant and hang out spot around the corner from the office.  

One thing not too many people know about her is that she loves to cook.  Most of her recipes were first an experiment and then became a recipe card.  Her specialty is stuffed turkey burgers which her roommates request often.  I would describe them, but you would drool and we don't want that! 


Something people would never guess about Christina is that she doesn't know how to ride a bike and she's not ashamed of it either! She said she wasn't blessed with coordination.  Plus, growing up in a big city, riding bikes wasn't a huge part of their activity.

Christina will be responsible for the direct to consumer data marketing points for FamilyWize.  She is a data driven marketer who understands, visualizes and communicates the marketing trends our data provides us.  Her gift is both as a tactical marketer and as a communicator of the results of our efforts each day.  She is a fast study of technology and marketing in a digital world.  Her ability to influence using social media and online tools will be one of her greatest assets to our marketing team.

Krysta W.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

FamilyWize Employee Insight: What's the "Wizest" Thing You've Ever Heard?

Being a part of a community service organization, like FamilyWize, allows every employee to hear some really great things; compliments, suggestions, and stories.  You name it, we've heard some great ones!  Besides the knowledge of everything FamilyWize, we have all these shared "Wize" words stored in our heads from partners, pharmacists, and prescription drug card customers.   We thought we would dust them off and share with you what the FamilyWize discount drug card is doing for others!  Wisdom is meant to be shared because at times we all need to be a little bit "wizer."


Kathy, Program Coordinator

What is the "Wizest" thing I’ve been told by a United Way colleague?  Wize, and memorable too!  Earlier this year, I spoke with an executive director of one of the United Ways we partner with.  The United Way really appreciates the FamilyWize partnership as well as how much it has helped many of their community residents with great savings on their prescription medications!


prescription assistance
Wize sayings to live by!
"Wize" part: The Executive Director let me know that they had an older woman come into their United Way asking for prescription assistance and really she was asking for “help” to be able to afford medications for herself and her elderly husband.  She obtained and used the FamilyWize discount card a few times.  However, her husband was somewhat stubborn and a total “unbeliever” to even try to use the FamilyWize savings card.  It took some coaxing and relaying her savings amount to make him a believer.  Finally he tried using the FamilyWize prescription savings card.  And much to his skepticism, he actually saved a great deal on his essential medications.
The elderly woman informed the United Way Executive Director about this great “success story” of someone there using the FamilyWize card.  At the United Way they continue to tell the story about turning a “non-believer" into a "believer!"

Kim, Program Coordinator


The ‘wizest’ thing I have been told thus far in my career at FamilyWize was by a pharmacist.  When I went to fill my prescriptions at my regular pharmacy, I thought I would introduce myself and see if the pharmacy was familiar with the program I helped implement.  He had heard of the program, but didn't know too much about it, so I explained to him who can use the prescription discount card and how it works

I also shared our new feature to the program that allows peopleto text "RX to the phone number "700700" and get a FamilyWize card right to their phone.  I thought I would share it with the pharmacist and his techs since it's an easy way for uninsured or underinsured customers to get help right away.   His exact words to me were “Wow! You guys are on the bleeding edge of technology!"  That made me chuckle, and him chuckle, too.  The pharmacist saying that made me realize FamilyWize is truly a step ahead and has found another way to reach those who need help filling prescriptions. 


Dave, Team Leader

Because the FamilyWize program has no registration or sign-up requirement, many people comment on how easy it is to let others know about the program.  The Rx discount cards are free and can be given away to anyone and everyone we meet!  What an excellent way to strike up a conversation with a total stranger!  One of the wizest things I have ever heard is, "the FamilyWize card is a vehicle to provide an act of random kindness."  I never thought about it, but it's very true! 

Some pretty wise things, right?! Whether you use the technology or are looking to provide someone with an act of random kindness, it only takes a few seconds to help someone in need.

Now that we've shared with you, share with us.  What's the wizest thing YOU have been told?  Our ears (and comment box) are open! 
Krysta W.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Narcolepsy A Matter of the Brain

Below is a picture of my daughter.  She is beautiful and vibrant and leads a busy life...but her daily life is a life of exhaustion.  Why?  She has narcolepsy.  Even when she was little she never slept through the night.  We thought perhaps she had sleep apnea, so when we had her tonsils taken out we thought her sleep would improve and it did slightly.  But as a preteen she also had Lyme's disease after which her sleep problems worsened along with her health.  Is there a correlation?  New studies may show some correlation between Neurological Post Treatment Lymes disease and narcolepsy / chronic fatigue, but nothing conclusive yet.

Narcolepsy Sleep Problems
Is she sleeping or is she awake?
Narcolepsy affects many!
Whatever the cause - it is a frustrating autoimmune disease that can wreak havoc on your sleep and your life!

My daughter does not have the type of narcolepsy where if she sits she falls asleep, which is how most people envision a narcolepsy sleep disorder.  Instead her brain really doesn't know when she is supposed to be asleep or awake.  So if she is sleeping and dreaming, those dreams actually are real and she acts them out.  When she was younger, she had a loft bed.  She was in one of her lucid dreams (narcoleptics reach REM (Rapid Eye Movement) within the first few minutes of sleep, whereas other people fall into REM sleep about 100 minutes into sleep).  She thought her mattress was falling on her so she jumped over the side and out of the bed.  It is five feet off the ground.  Luckily she didn't get hurt.  That is the sleep side of her life.

The awake side is a little more scary.  Two years ago while starting school to be an aesthetician, she was driving and missed her exit.  She called me in a panic.  We have learned that part of her neurological sleep disorder means she doesn't go anywhere new without someone else taking her there first.  (This is also part of a learning disorder - visual perception processing disorder. But that is another blog.)

I told her to tell me where she was and we got her back in the right direction.  During this time however she confessed, "I think I fell asleep."  She no longer drives any long distances by herself.  In order to drive, she is required to either take a sleeping aid or something to keep her awake.  Because she is small in stature; the medications really mess with her.  There are prescription medications for narcolepsy treatment, but you need to check with your doctor and pharmacist to see which is best for you.  Because of her physical responses, she has opted for natural alternatives.  She may go back on the sleep medication however, which is highly regulated and unusual in its dosages, but at least helps her sleep.

My daughter is now 20 and through my research has new hope.  She doesn't feel so alone with this disease.  Because it isn't just the sleep. She suffers from narcolepsy with cataplexy.  This is when her body physically goes to sleep although she is awake.  She is not alone though according to the National Institute of Health, "...one in every 3,000 Americans" is affected by this sleeping disorder.

What is narcolepsy?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke define as:

"Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system characterized by the brain's inability to control sleep-wake cycles."

There are many studies and reports on narcolepsy, but this site provides clear and simple information on narcolepsy.

Although my daughter has adjusted her life and doesn't let it stop her from having fun, my biggest concern for my daughter and others like her is that a lack of sleep associated with sleeping disorders can cause health problems.  "Even the loss of one hour of sleep time that accumulates for several days can have a powerful negative effect on daytime performance, thinking, and mood", according to the Sleep Foundation's Sleep Wake Cycle Study.  And even more astounding is the Center for Disease Control article on sleeping problems which indicates, "Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health."

If you have narcolepsy, another type of sleep disorder, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome (RLS), or have problems falling asleep, then I would encourage you to see a doctor and get a sleep study test.

A lack of sleep can cause difficulty in your daily lives and wreak havoc on your health.  So improve your life and your health and get help with your sleep.  To find out some of the health risks and how to sleep better, check out our other blogs:
At FamilyWize we truly seek to help you find not only affordable prescription medications for sleep disorders, but help you find ways to live healthy.  If you suffer from a sleeping problem, check our Drug Look-Up Tool to see if we cover your sleep medication and can help you get a discount on your prescription medicine.

Donna Cornelius
Content Manager and Editor for FamilyWize


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ode to Tammie




free prescription drug card
Tammie's enthusiasm and generosity will be missed at FamilyWize.
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave foot prints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." 
---Flavia Weedn


Man, isn't that the truth!  For more than a year, all of us at FamilyWize have been given the unbelievable privilege of spending eight hours each day working with an amazing woman and friend -- Tammie. 


Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to a fabulous co-worker and send her off to Oregon where her family is moving to support her husband and his new job. Great for him, bad for us.  We are however very happy for both of them!

We unanimously agreed all of her baked goods, from cookies to scones, will be greatly missed.  But most of all, Tammie's enthusiasm about getting the FamilyWize free prescription discount card to those in need will be missed the most.


As a tribute to Tammie, each FamilyWize employee, friend, and family wrote down what we will miss most about her.  And believe us when we say it was hard to keep it to a single Post-It note!






































Thank you for leaving foot prints in all of our hearts, Tammie! 

Krysta W.