United Way of Neshoba County and the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership have teamed up to make prescriptions more affordable for those without insurance or even those who have insurance that doesn't cover their medicine.

FamilyWize cards have provided needed relief with great success, saving 38 people in our community more than $4,141 on the cost of their medicine. However, there are still many more people whose health is endangered because their prescriptions are too expensive and they are not getting the medicines they need.

Surveys in the last two years by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports independent research on health care issues, notes particular difficulties for people who lost insurance when they became uninsured:

• 57 percent who had health benefits through their jobs and then lost their jobs became uninsured

• 52 percent of uninsured adults with a chronic condition skipped doses or did not fill a prescription for their condition because of the cost

Even people with insurance through their employer may find that costs keeps them from taking medicine as prescribed, particularly those with High Deductible Plans. According to an Employee Benefits Research Institute study;

• 31 percent of people who had a deductible of at least $1,000 skipped a dose or didn't fill a prescription because of cost.

"In 2013, we'd like to see every person in our community who is unemployed, uninsured, or has to buy medicine not covered by their health plan or government program, or is unable to get the medicine they need for any reason, get a FamilyWize card from our United Way," said Chris Roake, secretary of the United Way of Neshoba County.

"We also encourage them to see what other services we can refer them to - like food banks and pantries, utility and housing assistance, and more. We know these are still hard times for many people and we're here to help."

United Way of Neshoba County is one of 1,000 local United Ways that have joined the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership over the last seven years. FamilyWize was recently named a Preferred Partner by United Way Worldwide to provide opportunities for increased awareness and collaborations nationwide.

"Our partnership with United Way Worldwide and almost 1,000 local United Ways nationwide gives us a national platform to help people in every community across the country," said Dan Barnes, FamilyWize CEO and Co-Founder.

Barnes added that FamilyWize has the capacity to help many more people and will be working hard to do so but the impact nationwide already is impressive:

• 5.2 million people helped

• 5,000 additional people helped each day

• $470 million saved on the cost of medications

"Locally or nationwide, what's most important is that most of the time we save people about $20 per prescription when they use this card," added Roake. "That's money in their pocket when they need it most to pay bills and other necessities."

Average savings are almost 40 percent and can be high as 75 percent. FamilyWize cards can be used at most pharmacies including all chain pharmacies and groceries nationwide.

Contact Roake at 656-1000 on how to get a card or come by the Depot (256 Beacon Street).