By Dave Madsen
I became aware of the FamilyWize card when I worked for United Way in Pennsylvania as a labor liaison. Earlier this year, I transitioned jobs and had a gap in my insurance coverage of about a month. I didn’t plan well—I have high cholesterol, and I ran out of my prescription. When I went to pick up my refill prescription at the pharmacy, it was going to be close to $60 without insurance. I remembered I had a FamilyWize card in my car, so I said, ‘Wait one second,’ I presented the card and got a substantive discount. It ended up costing $20 total!
After this experience, it struck me: What if I was hurting financially because my job got cut back in hours or I didn’t have childcare? For many people, those savings can make a big difference—it could be a week's worth of groceries.
In my current job, I work closely with the Pennsylvania United Way on the FamilyWize program. I help promote it and make sure unions are sharing it with their membership. And I use my story a lot. I say, “Hey, I was in a situation where I needed to use it.” It’s great that you can reuse it—it's not a coupon. You just keep using it so you can keep having savings. It’s a big hit with our retirees groups. I've had a few of our retirees walk up to me after a meeting and say, “I used that FamilyWize card. It was helpful.”
You have nothing to lose by trying it. That was my attitude. I was like, maybe I'll get some savings. I did and I was like, “Whoa, I’m glad I did this!” Every little bit counts. I tell people all the time to try it, and if it doesn't work, then there's probably someone in your network who could benefit from it—just pass it to them. A lot of people could use the additional dollars. Save yourself some money and get your prescriptions—it's a win-win for everybody.