Prescription discount card saves on multiple levels

medication packsNearly half of all adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic condition, according to the CDC. And often, lifestyle changes aren’t enough to treat those conditions. For many, prescription medications are critical for treatment.

But for some, particularly seniors on fixed incomes, cost can put these treatments out of reach.

According to the latest figures from the AARP, the average annual cost of prescriptions for seniors more than doubled between 2006 and 2013, rising from $5,571 to $11,341. At more than $945 per month, that represents about 75 percent of average Social Security payments and 48 percent of the median income of people who receive Medicare benefits, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

For many people, this is too much to afford while still paying for other living expenses, so they simply don’t fill the prescriptions. In a survey of 14,464 Medicare beneficiaries, more than 55 percent of patients who did not fill at least one prescription said it was because they thought it would cost too much and about 20 percent said it was because the medicine was not covered by insurance, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialized Pharmacology.

But patients are prescribed medication for a reason, and when they don’t take those medications, the effects can be even more costly than the original drug price. Not only are patients’ health and lives at risk, but they often need even more and increasingly costly medical intervention, which drives up overall health care costs.

Several studies show, though, that patients of all income levels are more likely to take their medications as prescribed when their out-of-pocket costs are reduced.

This is why United Way has partnered with FamilyWize to offer free prescription savings cards. The card is available to anyone with or without insurance and can be used on both generic and name-brand prescriptions.

FamilyWize CardThis program can be used to obtain savings on prescription drugs that are excluded by your insurance plan or are not covered because you have exceeded your insurance plan’s maximum limits.

In some instances, the FamilyWize Prescription Card’s price may even be lower than your program’s copayment amount. In addition, if your insurance plan does not offer you a drug card and you are reimbursed after each transaction, you may be able to use the FamilyWize card to lower your out-of-pocket expenses.

Users save an average of 43% on their prescriptions when using the savings card, and a tool is available online to check how much your prescription would cost using the card.

To get your FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card, download the FamilyWize app on your smartphone or visit to download a printable card.