Showing posts with label prescription medications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prescription medications. Show all posts

Monday, April 25, 2016

6 Ways to be Your Healthiest Self



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


1. Eat well. 

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

2. Exercise.

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

3. Get your ZZZs.

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

4. Make an appointment with your doctor. 

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

5. Consider changing medications.

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

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

6. Do a benefit check-up.

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

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

Live Healthy. Live Smart.
-FamilyWize

Monday, 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 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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Skipping Your Medicine - A Prescription for Risk

Your Health and Medicine:  How Stopping or Skipping Medication is a Prescription for Risk

Common sense tells us that when people skip prescribed medication, it can negatively affect their health.  But did you know that when people stop their medicine prematurely it affects the overall medicine costs of the community and average cost of individual prescriptions?

The Non-Adherence Problem

The term used by the pharmaceutical and health industry is medication non-adherence—not adhering to the instructions provided with prescribed medications.  It can take many forms, including:
  • Discontinuing medication  
  • Reducing or skipping dosages  
  • Failing to follow directions 
  • Taking expired medications

skipping prescriptions
Non-adherence of medical prescriptions is rampant and costly.
There are health risks involved with medication non-adherence. For example, discontinuing antibiotics can cause the illness to return and make it difficult for another antibiotic to work effectively the next time. Reducing dosages might not be effective as many dosages are prescribed according to patients' weight. Some medications need to maintain a certain level in the blood stream to be affective. Skipping doses interferes with those levels. Expired medications can lose potency and may not be as effective.

Surprising Statistics

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports about 50 percent of patients do not take medications as prescribed.  A Consumer Reports survey of over 2,000 adults found that: 
  • 16% did not get prescriptions filled the first time.
  • 13% admitted to taking expired medicine.  
  • About 13%  skip doses or even stop taking medicine without doctor’s approval. 
  • 4% share their prescription with another person.
  • 8% split prescription pills to make them last longer without checking with their doctor.
Clearly, non-adherence of medical prescriptions is rampant.  But is this a big deal?

The Risks

Stopping medicine or skipping prescriptions can affect your health  because it increases your chances of becoming sicker.  According to The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), personal healthcare costs often increase as a result of not following prescription instructions.  This is ironic, since a common reason for skipping medication is to save money.

medication costs
Skipping prescriptions is linked to increase in hospitalization.
PhRMA statistics show an increase in hospitalizations, nursing home admissions, doctor appointments, and other healthcare costs that could have been avoided by taking prescriptions as directed.  Hospitalization, re-hospitalization and premature death were more than five times higher for hypertension patients who did not follow prescription instructions than those who did. For patients being treated for heart disease, health complications nearly doubled for those who did not follow prescription instructions. Diabetics who skipped 6 out of 10 doses of their medications were 3.6 times more likely to be hospitalized, compared to patients who followed prescribed treatments. PhRMA also warns of the following problems when we don't don't follow prescription directions.
  • Not following prescription directions is linked to 125,000 deaths each year.
  • The financial cost may be as high as $300 billion per year.
  • It is associated with up to 40% of nursing home admissions.
  • Adds $2,000 annually per patient in physician visit costs.
Many who skip or reduce their medication for financial reasons are in high-risk categories, such as the elderly, lower incomes, and those dealing with a chronic health condition. Increased hospitalization is a burden on public resources. The result is health care costs increases for entire communities.

The Good News - Tips to Reduce Costs

If money is tight, here are two ways to significantly lower your out-of-pocket medication costs without resorting to skipping doses or stopping prescriptions.

1. Request generic drugs.

Ask your doctor if the medication has an approved generic.  In some cases, generics may save up to 75% compared to the brand name version.  When changing to the generic version of a drug, always check first with your doctor.  To find out more about saving with generic drugs, see the FamilyWize article Understanding Generic Drugs.

2. Seek low income prescription assistance.

Medical prescription assistance is available nationwide in the U.S. through government and privately funded programs that are designed for those who cannot afford the cost of prescriptions or who do not have prescription coverage through a health insurance plan. 

To find such resources, perform a search engine query using the phrase “medical prescription assistance in _____” fill in the blank with your community or county name.
 
You can also get help from nationwide resources such as FamilyWize or Partnership for Prescription Assistance.  FamilyWize, whose mission is is to reduce the cost of prescription medicine for children, families, and individuals by $1 billion by the end of 2015, offers a FREE prescription card to those who need prescription assistance.  Find out more at http://familywize.org/.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Monday, August 6, 2012

Check Your Expiration - Prescription Meds

With the cost of prescription medicines rising, many people might be tempted to hold on to a medication just in case they need to take them again.  Maintenance medications, those we take on a daily basis for chronic medical issues, are filled on a regular basis.  But what about medicine we take for seasonal allergy relief or for temporary pain?  Should we hold onto unfinished portions?  Is it safe to take them again, even if they are a little past their expiration dates?

expired medine
Expiration dates on medicine also called discard after date.
Expiration Dates
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started requiring expiration dates on medicine sold by prescription and over the counter.  Expiration dates can be found on the prescription label, the bottle, or box of the medication.  The FDA contends that medication expiration dates help in determining a medication's effectiveness and safety after expiration.  Expired medication can lose its effectiveness and in some cases can even pose a threat to one's health.  Tetracyclin for example is an antibiotic that can cause serious kidney damage if taken after expiration date.  

Most expiration dates range from one to five years.  However, in some states, pharmacies are required to give a prescription a one year expiration date once they have re-bottled and dispensed it.  Berkeley University advises that under ideal conditions, many medications remain stable long after their expiration dates.  However, most people do not keep their medications in these conditions.  Once the bottle is opened, a medication begins to break down. Exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures or moisture affect the stability of medications.

Are All Expiration Dates Equal?
Berkeley University lists the following medicines that break down quickly and should not be used past the expiration date.
  • Liquid antibiotics
  • Liquids requiring refrigeration
  • Insulins
  • Nitroglycerine
  • Epi-pens
The following are medications that may be safe to use, although could be less effective, after expiration.
  • Cold remedies
  • Topical ointments and creams
  • Pain relievers
  • Sleeping aids
Medication packaging also contains information regarding safe storage and expiration dates.  As with anything we eat or put on our skin, if it is discolored, has a strong odor or has changed in appearance, for example become powdery, it should be discarded.

effects of expired medicine
Expiration dates on over the counter drugs.
 The FDA advises that expired medication can pose a health risk if taken after the expiration date, especially if not stored properly.  It is important to read and follow the instructions for proper storage of both prescription and over the counter medications.  They should  be stored in a controlled climate and properly sealed in their containers.

Medicine Storage Do's & Don'ts
  • Do store in a cool, dry, dark place away from heat and moisture.
  • Do refrigerate when indicated.
  • Do not store in a bathroom medicine cabinet.
  • Do not store in your car.
Medications can start to break down and lose their potency (also called efficacy) once they are exposed to air and different temperatures.  Does this automatically mean that the expired medicine poses a health risk?  Not necessarily.  Berkeley University explains that there is no evidence to suggest that expired medication is harmful to your health.  It could depend on the medication.  Many experts feel that it is not worth risking.  The FDA advises not to take the risk.  The chemical composition of a medication can start to break down due to improper storage and this could be dangerous.

Even if  there does not seem to be a threat due to an expiration date, consider these reasons for properly discarding unused medications.  Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center advises:

Medication Dangers
  • Abuse - Prescription pain killers are often abused, especially by teenagers.
  • Accidental dose or overdose - Children and the elderly can take medications by accident.  Taking a medication that is not prescribed can be dangerous even in a small dosage. 
  • Pets - Like children and elderly parents can get into medications, too.
  • Poisoning - Medication poisoning is a leading cause of death from poisoning.
As a full time caregiver, I will also add that it is very easy to grab the wrong prescription or even over the counter bottle on a busy morning.  Last summer while my mother was taking Coumadin, a blood thinner, she had several different dosages available.  Patients who take Coumadin often experience dosage changes, especially when they first start taking the blood thinner.  It can change every two weeks, or even more frequently.  I had to keep the different bottles well marked and separated in order to avoid giving her the wrong dosage.  Too much and she could bleed to death.  Too little and she could develop a deadly blood clot.

For some medications, we might have to keep some on hand.  For most we do not have to.  Don't make your job harder. Discard expired medication and avoid medication dangers as much as possible.

As rising costs continue to influence how long we hold onto prescription and over the counter medications, expiration dates will factor into our decision to keep or discard those old bottles.  If you are cost conscious, as most of us are, remember that the FamilyWize prescription discount drug card is free and can be used at over 61,000 participating pharmacies.  Save up to 75% off the cost of prescription drugs.

If you do have expired medication, come September is the DEA National Take Back Initiative.  This initiative allows you to return expired medicines so that they are properly disposed of.  We will be posting a blog in September as a reminder and give you more information about where you can go.  In the meantime, check with your pharmacy or FDA.gov for proper disposal directions of over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Caroline Carr
Contributing Writer

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


Friday, July 13, 2012

Help Me Sleep!

So we discussed what happens with problems sleeping and related health risks, but the question remains:  How do I get better sleep?

First, if you have or think you may have a sleep disorder, then you need to seek help from a doctor.  These can lead to more serious health problems.  Look for sleep centers accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine at www.aasmnet.org and click on "Find a Sleep Center" or call 708-492-0930.  (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Most people view sleep as a time to shut down and shut off the brain.  Research has shown that there is so much more taking place when you are in a horizontal position.  Your body is actually quite active:
sleep sleep problems
Sleep has many health benefits.
  • Improving your memory and creative juices
  • Repairing your body
  • Boosting your immune system
  • Raising your metabolism
  • Curbing inflammation
  • Lowering stress
  • Helping you lose weight
  • Improving problem solving skills

Oh, and for athletes 10 hours of sleep improves speed and performance.  I will be sharing this with my son who is bound for college football this fall.

According to the National Institute of Health report on Healthy Sleep, experts believe that while we sleep brain cell's pathways are made stronger.  Healthy living, thinking, and sleep affect these pathways, which kind of look like trees - seriously trunk and branches.  So think of it like this.  Sleep represents the roots of your health tree.  As we sleep the trunk brain pathways (called axons) get stronger producing more branches (dendrites).  The dendrites or branches can grow or whither depending on a lot of things, but sleep as well.

Ways to Get Better Sleep

There are many sleep aids out on the market both over-the-counter medications and prescription medications referred to as hypnotics. The FamilyWize free prescription drug card covers sleep aid prescription medications.  As with all prescriptions, check with your doctor to see which  is right for you; and then check with your pharmacist to make sure there are no contraindications with other brand or generic prescription medications you may be taking.)  Up to 10% of the adult population in the U.S. took sleeping aids in 2010.

What does that say about our state of sleep?

I would like to provide you a few remedies for sleep that may help improve your sleep problems.
  • Avoid caffeine after 4 p.m.  If you need an afternoon pick me up, try drinking your caffeine around 2 p.m.
  • Turn down the heat.  Exercise in the morning, afternoon, or early evening.  Exercise increases your metabolism and raises your body temperature.  According to Dr. J. Todd Arnett, Director of University of Michigan Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, your body has to be a certain temperature in order to fall asleep.
  • That glass of wine you enjoy in the evening - try having it earlier.  Although people say wine makes them drowsy, it will actually disrupt your sleep later.  An Alcohol Alert by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states, "Alcohol consumption can induce sleep disorders by disrupting the sequence and duration of sleep states and by altering total sleep time as well as the time required to fall asleep."
  • Make a list - one thing that is helpful for me is to write down my list of to-do's for the next day, so I am not thinking about them while trying to fall asleep.
  • Don't go to bed angry.  I was raised with the saying,  "Don't let the sun go down upon your wrath."  For me it meant spiritual implications, but the Health and Sleep Journal agrees that going to bed angry causes health problems.  So if you are angry at your significant other be sure to forgive him or her before you go to sleep.
  • Eat your sweet potato.  Certain foods and food combinations have tryptophan, which produces serotonin.  I personally cut up a sweet potato, which produces melatonin, into chunks, put it in a blender add water, cinnamon, and ginger and then drink.  A few days of this and you will sleep like a baby.
  • Try some meditative yoga or yoga stretches to ease away the tension and relax your body. li>Make your bedroom your retreat.  Remove the clutter, the electronics, and other distractions that may cause you to not rest in your own bedroom.
Above all else, the best advice is to try to get the proper amount of sleep for your body.  Most doctors recommend seven to eight hours of sleep at night, but each body is different.  We have become a 24/7 society.  Stores are open 24 hours, television shows don't ever stop (Did you know that the TV used to go static after a certain hour of the night?), the computer never goes to sleep, but you need to - so do yourself a favor and relax and enjoy a good night's sleep and live healthier and longer!

P.S. If you take an FDA approved sleep medication and need help with the cost of your prescription medicines, check out the FamilyWize prescription card.  Our Rx drug card users saved an average of 51% on their sleep medications.

Donna Cornelius
Content Manager and Editor - FamilyWize

Monday, July 9, 2012

FamilyWize Receives Common Good Award for Savings on Prescription Discounts

The wonderful aspect of working at FamilyWize is being able to see first hand all the good this company is doing.  Even with the healthcare reform in progress—there are still millions who are struggling to get their prescription medications and receive proper healthcare.  But every day, FamilyWize and the United Ways are making a difference in people’s lives with free prescription medicine discount cards.

Not to toot our own horn, but to give you insight on what these cards are doing in towns just like yours, I want to share with you some FamilyWize and United Way news!  This is just one example of what is happening across the country.

Partnership Hits Close to Home in a BIG Way!


Dennis Carmen, President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Plymouth County (in MA), knows to the dollar how much impact the free FamilyWize prescription cards that their United Way distributes has had on the area.  As of June 26, this one United Way has saved individuals in this county over $875,000.  The impact is huge and growing daily. You can even watch the savings change by the second on the United Way of Plymouth County’s website.

familywize united way unitedway
Carol Brian, VP of Partner Support receiving
Common Good Award from CEO Dennis Carmen
Recently Carol Brian, our Vice President of Partner Support, journeyed up to Plymouth County Massachusetts on June 6th to attend the 90th Annual Meeting of the United Way of Greater Plymouth County.   FamilyWize was honored with the Common Good Award in the area of Health.   We were the only non-local company so honored. Carol accepted the award on behalf of FamilyWize.

Mr. Carmen stated, “For a community this size, the savings we provide on medicine for people is significant.” Carmen pointed out, “FamilyWize makes it possible for our neighbors who are struggling, many of them older folks; to buy both the medicine they need plus pay for necessities like food, utilities, clothing, etc. This is a phenomenal alliance with almost 1,000 local United Ways like ours, nationwide, but it is felt so strongly locally.”

Carmen went on to say, “It’s truly wonderful to be able to honor such a partnership that works so directly.  These free cards we distribute have been used about 55,000 times and give an average savings of over 30%.  For a person who might take $500 or $600 worth of medicine a month, think of how much they save.  We’ll soon have saved $1 million dollars with a simple free card we give out.”

United Ways like the one in Greater Plymouth County are amazing partners for this grassroots effort,” states Dan Barnes, co-founder and CEO of the FamilyWize Community Partnership.  “We need partners like them to reach all those people who don’t even know that this kind of assistance is available to them no matter what their age or income is.  These are savings negotiated on behalf of the 2 million people who used our discount drug card in 2011.  No one should hesitate to get a card and see how much they can save."

Isn’t that amazing!!!  Imagine saving your community $1 million dollars in prescription medicines.  As of April 2012, the free FamilyWize cards have helped more than 4 million people save over $345 million.  But as the saying goes, “It takes a village to a raise a child.”  But, we know it only takes one person to make a difference in another’s life.

Part of what Familywize does is help individuals like you to pay it forward!  It takes just a minute of your time to get a FamilyWize United Way free medication discount card and pass it out to your co-workers, friends, family, church; the potential is limitless.  You can go online to www.familywize.org and Get a Card or call us for a free Rx card at 800-222-2818.

An even easier option now to get a discount drug card is to text “Family” to 700700.  A text message will be sent to your phone that you can show to the pharmacist at one of the 65,000 participating pharmacies to receive your discount automatically.

Our cards are free, but we need your help in reaching the millions who need help with their brand name and generic medicines!

For more information about how you can help or to find out more about the FamilyWize company visit www.FamilyWize.org or Facebook.com/familywize.

Thank you for helping us to reach one more person!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Uninsured 20 Somethings - A Lack of Health Care

It's in the news and I don't think we can get around it so I am going to say it - Affordable Care Act.

Whew - that wasn't so bad!  I think health care insurance and medical coverage are something that each one of us faces on some level every day.  But what I don't think we all realize is how differently it impacts life based on a person's age.

So my daughter just turned 20.  She was in college and then a trade school. Now that she is done with school and working anywhere from one to three jobs to have financial freedom, her time and freedom fluctuates based on the number of jobs she has.

It is great she works, but none of the jobs offer health care.  She is in a growing, trending industry, but it all depends on the region, length of time worked, and the size of the company - so far she has not had an affordable health care plan if any at all.

health care health care plan
Many college age adults have no health insurance coverage.
Thankfully - due to all this healthcare reform - good, bad, or indifferent - she was able to get insurance coverage through my husband's healthcare plan.  Both my husband and I work - yet we have insurance premiums that we pay for through his company.  And even though my daughter and other young adult are working full-time, many still cannot afford the health care premiums associated with proper medical health insurance.

Recently "The Commonwealth Fund" conducted a survey.  Their report "Young, Uninsured, and in Debt: Why Young Adults Lack Health Insurance and How the Affordable Care Act is Helping"  indicated that young adults from ages 19 - 29 often do not have access to or choose not to take part in the healthcare plan even if offered by their companies.

affordable health care plan
Many struggle with everyday bills and need affordable health care
Like my daughter prior to the Affordable Care Act, young adults who typically lose insurance coverage when they graduate high school or college are still choosing between bills (rent, utilities, food, and school loans) and proper medical care and needed prescriptions.

I am not taking a position on the whole healthcare reform, but I do know based on this study - our young adults are at risk.  The study indicated that young adults - ages 19- 29 who have gaps in health insurance, are at a higher risk for injury related visits to the emergency room, are more likely to have babies at this age, 15%  have chronic health conditions requiring a doctor's care and prescription medications, and in the last 30 years this age group's obesity rate has "increased threefold".

So over the next week or so, we are going to take a closer look at what I found young adults are doing to cope with being uninsured.  Similarly to our Medicare Donut Hole blogs, we will be doing a short series.  Next week we will tell you what measures we discovered some are taking to get health insurance as well as sharing a few of the options out there in finding affordable health care.

If you or someone you know is 20-something and does not have health insurance, let us know what you or they are doing about going to the doctor's or getting prescription medicine when needed.

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Save Money This Summer at Your Local Movie Theater

It seems the cost of everything is going up these days!  From prescription medications to groceries to utilities, gasoline, and more!  As I chat with family members and friends, I continually hear how expensive it is to do much of anything beyond paying the bills.  The mere cost of living often prevents many people I know from taking a summer vacation or doing the relaxing activities we all need.  Cut backs aren't just an employment issue, they are a household issue.

So beyond our free prescription discount drug cards, part of what we aim to do at FamilyWize is to provide you with money saving ideas.  I love to share ways on how to save money while doing fun activities for kids, date night with your spouse, day trips with your family and friends!  Each week I will share some ideas I've found, or those you've shared, of simple ways to save money, cut your budget, and plan affordable fun activities - such as....

Summer Movie Theater Discounts and Coupons!
Looking for affordable options for movies in theaters?  Know where free movies at theaters are, as well as other summer movie coupons.
fun activities
Check with theaters for summer discounts and coupons.

Regal, United Artists, and Edward Theaters  - Summer Movie Express is a family fun special that runs for 9 weeks.  You can see G and PG rated movies for only a dollar at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This festival also benefits the Will Rogers Institute.

Marcus Movie Theaters - this movie theater provides $5 coupon deals on Spotlight movies on Wednesdays and Thursdays - who says date night needs to be on a weekend.  They also have a Young at Heart® program for those aged 60 and over. And for fun activities for kids check out their Kids Dream Summer Film Series on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10 a.m.

Carmike Cinemas - their 2012 Summer Kid Series, which started June 7th, offers 10 weeks of summer movie viewing every Thursday for only $2, which includes a drink and popcorn.

Rave Cinemas - has summer movie fun for the whole family!  Their Free Family Film Festival offers a variety of FREE G and PG movies twice a week for nine weeks at 10 a.m. Dates and times are available by state on their website.

Cinemark (Century Theatres) - has a Summer Movie Clubhouse. For only $5 you can see 10 movies (movie tickets must be purchased in advance; otherwise each movie is $1 at the door or $10).  For a list of participating movie theaters, dates and times, just click - Cinemark.

Second Run Theaters - all across the country are smaller mom and pop theaters that offer second run movies at discounted prices. These theaters don't just offer summer pricing - their discounted prices are year round.

Although I didn't list all of the summer movie theater discounts and coupons, there are many more summer movie specials for early birds, coupons for discounted food items, and group discount tickets.  Check out your local movie theaters for the best movie deals near you.

Be sure to check in and let us know what summer movies you are watching and where you are by liking us on FourSquare FamilyWize or twitter us about the movie when you follow us at Twitter FamilyWize.  Or just leave a comment about your favorite summer movie savings right here!


Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager at FamilyWize

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Don't Pill'fer Your Medications Potency This Summer

 "Store Medications at Room Temperature"


Those four words are etched on most pill bottle labels, but how many of us travel with temperature-sensitive medications follow those words? 


Temperature Medications Sensitive
Medications left in car can lose potency.
Summer is here, which means higher temperatures, vacation travel  and the potential for compromising medications that require a temperature controlled environment.

We all do it:  leave the inhaler in the glove box; the insulin bottle slips between the seats; and those nitroglycerin tablets fell out of the blazer pocket when thrown in the back seat. 

Leaving medications that are sensitive to heat does more than simply warm them.  When prescription medications are left at above room temperatures, like in a hot car, it affects how potent and effective the drug is.  During peak summer months, interior car temperatures can reach over 110 degrees, which well exceeds the 72 degree room temperature typical for medications. 

Here are a few tips on how to travel smarter with your temperature sensitive medications:

1.  Don't leave medications in your car when you're not. Think of them as a pet- you wouldn't leave a dog in a hot car, would you?! Don't leave them to sweat it out in the trunk either, but somewhere air circulates to keep a safe temperature.

2.  Certain prescription drugs are more susceptible to heat than others and require a controlled temperature
  • Insulin, which is used to treat diabetes patients, degrades very quickly when exposed to heat and should never be left in a car.  According to the American Diabetes Association, current bottles of insulin should be stored at room temperature and extra bottles can be stored in the fridge.  It should never be stored in the freezer, in direct sunlight, or in the glove compartment of a vehicle. 
  • Nitroglycerin, used by those who have heart conditions, is affected very quickly by heat.  According to Drugs.com, Nitroglycerin is to be stored at room temperature and away from heat, moisture, and light. 
  • Inhalers, a device used to treat Asthma, contain medicine in a pressurized can.  According to Proventil, a brand of asthma inhaler, exposure to temperatures above 120°F may cause bursting. 
  • Epicene, used for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), is another drug that should not be exposed to heat.  According to Drugs.com, EpiPens should be stored at room temperatures, not refrigerated or frozen, and stored away from heat, light, and moisture.  Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees is permitted.
3.  Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if your medication is able to be refrigerated.  Depending on the medication, sticking your medications in a cooler usually has a lesser affect on medication than heat.  Find a cooler with a strap so you can tote it around on your shoulder to shield your medications from the heat and sun.

4.  Before you down your medicine, be sure to check the anatomy of your medicine.  If it comes in the form of a capsule or pill, double check to make sure they aren't stuck together or wilted.  If your pills don't look the same after they were exposed to heat, it's probably best to check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if they are still safe to consume.

5.  If traveling on a plane, do not check your prescription drugs with your luggage. Most cargo holds are not climate controlled so the potency of your pills cannot be guaranteed.  Throw your pills in your carry on bag - that way you know they are safe. 

6.  Most pharmacies will provide a one time replacement for incidents like these.  Check with your insurance company, or drug manufacturer to see if it will replace your medicine.  If your insurance company will not provide a replacement for your overheated med and you have to purchase it at retail price, print out a FamilyWize Card and take it to one of our participating pharmacies.  Eight out of ten times, FamilyWize can give you a discount on your FDA approved medication.

Of course, only your doctor or pharmacist can provide professional advice on effective ways to store medications.

So, who else is guilty of leaving their medications in a summery place? Comment to share your PILLfered potency story!

Krysta W.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Vacation - Don't Forget to Pack!

Ah, summer --  the time of year when kids are off from school, The Beach Boys never grow old, watermelon becomes a food group, and bathing suits are considered clothing. 

Summer is also the prime season to vacation.  But when leaving for vacation, have you ever had that feeling of "I'm forgetting something" cloud your mind?

You can tie a string around your finger, leave Post-its all over the place, but there is always that one item (or five) that forgets to make the trip. 

Before you venture out for summer vacation, here is a list of of commonly forgotten items.  (Our helpful way of making sure they ARE in your suitcase.)
  • Shampoo, Conditioner
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Razor 
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen, Lip Balm
  • Bug Spray
  • Glasses/Contacts
  • Cooler
  • Chair
  • Shoes
  • Clothing 
  • A Great Book  
  • Phone Charger
  • Camera
  • Water
  • Snacks 
  • Prescription Medications
  • And last, but not least...your FamilyWize Card
Medications summer vacation pharmacies
FamilyWize prescription drug card saves on medications nationwide.
Just in case you lose or run out of your medicine, the FamilyWize card can be used at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide.  Whether you are traveling from Concord, New Hampshire to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina or Helena, Montana to Honolulu, Hawaii, the FamilyWize prescription drug card can accompany you on your travels and still help you receive a discount on your medication- even when you are hundreds of miles from home sweet home.

When tying a string around your finger doesn't work, what is the most common item you forget on vacation? Let us KNOW!

Krysta W.