MILTON — This week, United Way of Santa Rosa County and FamilyWize announced that 4,645 Santa Rosa residents saved a combined total of $156,831 on prescription medications and supplies last year.

The organizations’ partnership made the savings possible. FamilyWize facilitates the discounts and tracks data reflecting the health and financial support offered locally and nationally through its United Way joint community initiatives.

To date, over 1,000 United Ways collaborate with FamilyWize to help over 10 million Americans save more than $1 billion, with an average savings of 43 percent since the partnership began in 2005.

“All too often we see families struggling to stay healthy due to the high cost of their prescription medications,” said Debra Baez, director of campaigns for UWSR. “Partnering with FamilyWize allows us to offer free resources to Santa Rosa for managing their finances and improving their families’ quality of life. It’s encouraging to see the total impact our partnership yielded in 2016 and we look forward to supporting more county residents this year. Our challenge is getting folks to understand that this free and confidential program is for everyone, with or without insurance. To join in, simply obtain the free discount card and hand it to your pharmacist.”

“We are proud of our work with United Way and the far-reaching impact we have achieved,” Dan Barnes, co-founder and chair of FamilyWize, said. “The current U.S. health care landscape remains difficult for millions of Americans to navigate, and rising prescription medication costs are causing many to sacrifice health to afford other basic necessities. With United Way, we are working towards a goal of helping even more families become educated on their options for finding cost-efficient prescription medications.”

The free FamilyWize program can save participants an average of 43 percent off their prescription medications. Accepted at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide and covering all FDA-approved prescription medications, the FamilyWize card has no eligibility requirements. It is available to anyone.

There are many ways to obtain cards. The UWSR has them at its 6479 Caroline St. location in Milton. Call UWSR’s First Call for Help hotline, 983-7200, for a card. Visit www.familywize.org and print the card from the website. Finally, you can download the Android or Apple app for your smartphone. The card has no expiration date and employees often receive cards during UWSR campaign talks.

“This is a great way to save money,” Baez said. “Why pay more for prescriptions? The Drug Price Lookup Tool is an online resource that will compare your prescription medication prices and find the local pharmacy with the lowest price. Consumers can access this easy-to-use tool on FamilyWize.org or through the FamilyWize app.”

How does FamilyWize do it? By aggregating large groups of patients, FamilyWize advocates and negotiates for deep discounts on prescription medications, which it then passes on in full to patients.