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How United Way helped Nashville families save millions of dollars on medicine

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Pricey prescriptions can easily sink family budgets but United Way of Metropolitan Nashville has helped connect more than 52,000 people to a discount program that's saved them millions of dollars in prescription costs.

Families around Nashville have saved about $7 million at the pharmacy through United Way's decade-long partnership with FamilyWize, a for-profit company that offers prescription discount cards. People using the program in Rutherford and Cannon counties have saved an additional $836,146, according to an estimate from United Way officials.

There's an increase in demand for United Way's services because of dramatic changes in population and cost of living in the Nashville area, said Erica Mitchell, senior director of community impact at United Way of Metropolitan Nashville.

"Many people go without much-needed medication because they can't afford it," said Mitchell.

Some people learn about the prescription discount program — which is open to anyone, regardless of income or whether insurance status — by calling United Way's 211 helpline. Often there's a 40-percent savings.

A United way referral specialist checked the price of an insulin for a woman who called about the cost of her son's prescription, and found that it would be $88 compared to the $400 she was paying, said Mitchell.

"With her limited income, it was a struggle each month to make sure he got the medication he needed, and sometimes he went without," said Mitchell.

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