Last year when the Familywise Rx cards were introduced into the area, no one knew how well they would do. But now they do.
The cards, which are available for anyone, have saved huge amounts of money for local residents.
Since their introduction last year, the cards have saved (through the end of March) over $44,000 for Carbon County residents. The average savings to those using the cards in the county was 35 percent or $27.74 per prescription.
The cards have been a boon to those without insurance in the area, with all local pharmacies, and in fact all pharmacies in southeastern Utah accepting them.
This is how the card works. Residents present the card and a prescription to one of the participating pharmacies and the resident will automatically receive whatever the discount is.
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 the use of the card.
"This program can touch so many people in our community," pointed out Kate Alleman, executive director of the United Way of Southeastern Utah last year when the card was introduced. "One out of three people have been without health insurance coverage in recent years. Even more (people) 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 was brought to the Castle Valley area by United Way of Southeastern Utah.
The Familywise cards distributed by the United Way across the United States were figured to save people more than $25 million during their first year of use, but as of Wednesday afternoon the savings totaled more than $55 million nationwide.
And for some, there is an added bonus - prescription pet medications purchased at a pharmacy are included in the discount program.
The card is not part of an insurance program and costs the user nothing. Instead it is a program that offers immediate discounts on prescription drugs at participating pharmacies.
The cost for the medication is the discount price offered through the program or the pharmacy's customary retail price, whichever is lower. Card users are assured the lowest price in a store at the time they purchase the medication.
If the pharmacy's price is lower, there is no savings or discount.
Castle Valley residents may obtain prescription discount cards by calling the United Way of Southeastern Utah at 637-8911. People with Internet access may print cards by visiting the program's website at www.FamilyWize.org.