By Nancy Micloskey
Things have changed a lot this year. I’m the Community Impact Coordinator at the United Way of West Central Connecticut—so that means I manage the programs and events in the four towns that we serve. And I love it.
During the summer months—May through September—we run a program of career exploration for 30 high school students. I also manage the Youth Board, which is composed of 30 students from local high schools. We work with middle school students to help ease their transition to high school, organize a seniors and law enforcement community group, offer a volunteer income tax assistance program, and do a handful of other events and programs.
This year, all of it was paused. We had to cancel our events. It was really hard to see all of the things we look forward to being put on hold. But what this has taught me is that we can still have a positive impact on our community and uphold our pillars—health, education, and financial stability—despite changing our programming.
FamilyWize is a huge part of our education and financial stability mission—and it’s been able to weather all of these changes. Normally, we have a stack of FamilyWize membership cards sitting in the lobby of the office and we explain how they work and help set people up with their memberships when they come to our office. And even though our office is closed, we are still able to post to Facebook and give people access to membership cards that they can print out themselves. And that’s continued to have such an impact on our community.
I not only promote FamilyWize, but I am a customer.
When it comes to insurance, I have a cost-sharing plan that kicks in after a pretty substantial deductible—so it’s good for catastrophic and big, long-term expenses. But I have a special health savings account set aside for day-to-day medical and prescription expenses.
So when I needed to go into the doctor’s office a few months ago, I was prepared to pay for my visit. I left with a prescription that I needed to take for a couple of months and went immediately to go fill it. But when I walked into the pharmacy, they told me my medication cost $75. So I let them know that I have a prescription savings card. Turns out that I only had to pay $25.88 for my prescription with the FamilyWize discount.
Before I experienced the savings myself, quite a few people that I had given FamilyWize membership cards to had given me feedback. They’ve said how it has helped them—which is always great to hear. But there’s really something to experiencing it yourself.
A FamilyWize card can help anybody: ALICE families (which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), seniors who work part-time or who don’t have Medicare, young working professionals. A FamilyWize savings card is for everyone.
One woman I know was able to get a substantial discount for an ongoing prescription over the course of a few months—which was a huge win because she might not have even gone to the doctor if this hadn’t been an option. A lot of people are scared of the costs that add up whenever you need medical help. And while you can negotiate with a doctor, you can’t negotiate with a pharmacy for a medication—you either leave with the prescription or you don’t. That’s why this discount card is so handy, and even lifesaving.
I see an openness—never a stigma—in my community when it comes to the FamilyWize savings card. It’s for folks who do have insurance, those who don’t, those who have prescription benefits, and those who don’t. No matter who you are, it’s always exciting and helpful to save money.
The only barrier to getting a savings card is knowing that they exist and knowing where to get one. And my whole career, my biggest fear is that programs exist and people don’t know about them. That’s why I carry these cards with me all of the time. I never know who I am going to run into or see or when I’m going to hear a story about someone or someone they are serving needing this. Because at the end of the day, it’s great to not need a prescription at all. But when you do, FamilyWize is a relief.
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