OPINION

Impacting access to affordable healthcare: FamilyWize

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

—by Sara Wilson, UWSC Marketing Director

Last month, we introduced United Way’s health focus, and we reiterated how important access to affordable healthcare is for our community. Subsequent columns have been focusing on what United Way of Story County (UWSC) and partners are doing to ensure Story County has access to essential services for healthy lives.

UWSC has recently partnered with FamilyWize, a unique national grassroots community initiative, to bring a free prescription discount card to Story County individuals and families. The FamilyWize cards may be used by anyone in need and are provided for no charge through UWSC.

Since 2005, FamilyWize and United Way have helped nearly seven million people nationwide save close to $700 million on the medicines they need to live healthy lives – including $197 million in mental health prescription cost savings. Almost 1,000 United Ways distribute the cards in the communities they serve. UWSC joined as a partner this year, but the cards have been available before now in Story County. Local residents have saved more than $16,000 already.

As the only prescription assistance service of its kind to pass through 100 percent of its savings directly to its members, FamilyWize brings together millions of uninsured and underinsured individuals and families into one umbrella-buying group to negotiate these discounts. The average discount is 40 percent and is sometimes as much as 75 percent or more – similar to what pharmacies give the largest insurance companies and employers.

The FamilyWize card requires no enrollment or activation. The card is really just like a reusable prescription coupon on all FDA-approved medicines. Consumers give the card to their pharmacists every time a prescription is needed and discounts are automatically applied. Participating pharmacies in Story County include the following: Hy-Vee Drugstore, Hy-Vee Drugstore Clinic (in McFarland), Hy-Vee Lincoln Center, Hy-Vee West, ISU Thielen Student Health Center, Medicap, Nucara, Target, both Wal-Marts and Walgreens in Ames; Hy-Vee Clinic in Huxley; Park View Health Mart and Story County Hospital in Nevada; Nucara in Zearing.

Anyone can immediately use the discount card. Individuals with health insurance can use it as well, during deductible periods and/or for anything insurance doesn’t cover. Cards can be picked up at the UWSC office (315 Clark Ave. in Ames) or downloaded from www.uwstory.org.

In addition to health, UWSC also focuses on education and income – the three building blocks for a good quality of life. We know we can’t do it alone, so we recruit people and organizations who bring passion, expertise and resources to make positive change. We invite you to be a part of the change. You can give, you can advocate and you can volunteer. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED.