The FamilyWize program assists workers and families without medical insurance with covering the cost of prescription medications.
For workers and families in Carbon County without medical insurance coverage, a new service is making its debut in eastern Utah.
The program is called FamilyWize.
"The FamilyWize card reduces the cost of medicine by an average of 35 percent," explained Kate Alleman, who serves as the executive director of the United Way of Southeastern Utah. "It can be used by businesses for employees who have no health insurance, part-time employees, family members who may not be covered, as well as for all employees with health insurance as a backup for medicine that isn't covered by the plan."
"Cards can also be used during the deductible period to make medication more affordable," continued Alleman.
The rising cost of gasoline, materials and health insurance is making it more and more difficult for local businesses to pay for comprehensive health plans for all employees.
While the card doesn't solve the difficult problem, it does offer some immediate relief.
People who use the card save about eight out of 10 visits to the pharmacy when they have to buy medicine not covered by insurance.
Cards can be used immediately after people join the program.
Residents present the card and a prescription to one of the 53,000 participating pharmacies and they will automatically receive whatever the discount is.
In eastern Utah, almost every pharmacy is participating in the program.
There are no applications, fees, waiting period, or age and income requirements.
Non-residents can use the cards as well and there is no personal information collected at the time of use.
Even prescription pet medications purchased at a pharmacy are included.
"This program can touch so many people in our community," pointed out Alleman. "One out of three people have been without health insurance coverage over the last two years. Even more skipped buying medicine or reduced the dosage they needed because of the high cost. The result is more people get sick and stay sick which increases absentee rates in the workplace and schools."
The program has been brought to the Castle Valley area by United Way of Southeastern Utah.
"Our local businesses and their employees are so supportive of United Way and our community," said Alleman. "With so many businesses and families struggling with the high cost of medicine, we're thrilled to be able to be able to help them. We hope that every business in our area contacts us for cards for all their employees and their families."
"The FamilyWize cards distributed by the United Way across the United States will save people more than $25 million during the next 12 months on the cost of their medicine," said Dan Barnes, co-chair of the FamilyWize Partnership. "We hope everyone in the community will take the time to thank their pharmacist, the United Way of Southeastern Utah and everyone else involved for the difference they are making in the lives of so many people in the community."
"All the pharmacies in southeastern Utah have voluntarily agreed to accept FamilyWize cards and provide these savings to people in need. All of our partners are making a real difference, right now, today, in the cost of health care and we're proud to have such reputable and hard working allies in our efforts," indicated the partnership co-chair.
As of July 31, Carbon County residents have submitted 143 claims, with the total member cost being $6,198.95.
Actual submitted fees were $10,437.48, which equates to a savings of $4,238.53. This is an overall 40 percent savings for Carbon County residents for an average of $29.64 per prescription.
The FamilyWize Prescription Drug Discount Card enables residents to receive discounted pricing on prescription drugs.
The card is not part of an insurance program.
Rather, it is a program that offers immediate discounts on prescription drugs at participating pharmacies.
Residents simply present a card with each prescription from a doctor to the participating pharmacyÂ at the time of purchase to receive the discounts.
For people who need to transfer prescriptions, they should bring the empty bottles or labels with them to the pharmacy.
The cost for the medication will be the discount price offered through the program or the pharmacy's customary retail price, whichever is lower.
This means users of the card are assured the lowest price in that store, at the time they purchase the medication.
If the pharmacy's price is lower, there is no savings or discount.
Churches and other non-profit organizations that deal with people in need in the Castle Valley area can get as many cards as they need.
People with Internet access can print a card by visiting the program's website at www.FamilyWize.org..
Castle Valley residents may also obtain the prescription discount cards by calling the United Way of Southeastern Utah at 637-8911.