The emotional roller coaster ride that is part and parcel of a cancer diagnosis comes as no surprise. Whether you are the cancer patient or a family member or friend, you expect that fear, pain and grief will be part of dealing with any life-threatening illness. What you might not expect, however, is the mountain of cancer bills that climbs up in an astonishingly short amount of time.
First are the copays for office visits and tests that got you to your cancer diagnosis. These may have seemed manageable, and simply a nuisance while you were trying to determine what was going on. But once your condition was identified you were probably thrust into a new phase of dealing with the disease, where you are seeing specialists and undergoing a treatment protocol that may include surgery, inpatient care, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Few healthcare practitioners take the time to sit down and discuss what all this will mean for you financially, leaving cancer patients and their families thunderstruck when medical bills for thousands of dollars start arriving in the mail.
How can you possibly deal with this economic onslaught? Many families without financial resources are thrust into medical bankruptcy, and even those who have robust health insurance coverage and deeper pockets find themselves making painful choices and sacrificing savings that otherwise would have financed vacations, college tuitions, and other long-held dreams.
For cancer patients in Idaho seeking financial help who are facing economic trauma brought on by their illness, there is help available. A number of local and national organizations make financial help for cancer available for a wide variety of needs, ranging from prescription and copay assistance to providing for out-of-pocket expenses such as food, utilities, and rent. The list of financial resources below represents a starting point – it is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you an idea of how many people and entities are out there who want to provide you with the help that you need.
Community Cancer Services
Community Cancer Services (CCS) of Bonner and Boundary Counties is dedicated to providing information as well as emotional and financial support to members of their community affected by a diagnosis of cancer. Cost assistance is available for lodging and transportation to and from cancer-related doctor and medical appointments, as well as financial assistance for insurance co-payments, prescriptions, medical bills, and utilities.
Kootenai Health – Breast Cancer Patient Support Program
Providing funds to help with essential living expenses and treatment support, including child care, gas, groceries, transportation, medications, rent, medical equipment and supplies, and nutritional support.
Fifth Season Financial
Fifth Season Financial offer the Funds for Living and Giving (FLAG) Program, a financial assistance resource that helps relieve the financial burden experienced by many late-stage cancer patients. Fifth Season’s program provides funds to people living with cancer or any other serious illness by using their life insurance policy as collateral. The funds you receive have NO RESTRICTIONS. You choose how you want to spend your money. Pay bills, take a vacation, or give a gift to someone you love. It’s your choice! The FLAG Program has provided over $75 million in funds to hundreds of families. Learn more: www.fifthseasonfinancial.
St. Luke’s Magic Valley Health Foundation, Inc. – Treasure Chest
Provides financial support to relieve some of the stress and burden cancer treatment causes patients and families. By providing relief of some of the financial burden, the breast cancer patient and their family can focus on understanding their treatment and expending energy on getting well and moving on to survivorship.
The HealthWell Foundation
The HealthWell Foundation is committed to addressing the needs of individuals with insurance who cannot afford their copayments, coinsurance, and premiums for important medical treatments. Their vision is to ensure that no patient goes without health care because they cannot afford it.
Angel Airlines for Cancer Patients
The mission and purpose of Angel Airlines For Cancer Patients’ is to ensure that no cancer patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment for lack of a means of long-distance commercial airline transportation.
Partnership for Prescriptions
Several hundred drug assistance programs stand ready to offer free or low-cost drugs to patients in need.
Relieve financial stress with the FLAG Program, a viatical alternative that uses your life insurance for a cash advance