A cancer diagnosis can make you feel more alone than you ever have felt in your life. Ironically, that very diagnosis makes you a member of a very large, expansive, international fraternity that has millions of members, all of whom have felt the same sense of isolation, fear, anger and grief that you are feeling. Put a group of cancer patients together in a room and leave them alone to discuss their emotions and experience and you are likely to hear the same things: uncertainty about medical treatments, concerns about loved ones, questions about why this had to happen to them, and intense stress about the economics of having cancer.
Those who are outside of the cancer community have no concept of how expensive the disease can be, or of how difficult it is to maintain any sense of normalcy in the face of overwhelming medical bills, copays, and pharmaceutical expenses. If you are a cancer patient in Wisconsin then you understand the struggle – no matter how good your health insurance may be or how much money you have saved, it is remarkable how dramatic a shift occurs in your sense of financial wellbeing once you are paying for chemotherapy, diagnostic tests, in and outpatient hospital bills, and the remarkably high costs of cancer drugs.
The good news for cancer patients in Wisconsin is that there is a wide array of financial support available if you just know where to look for it. National organizations, local entities, and grassroots groups have all come together to raise funds and provide resources that are aimed at making life easier for those who are facing one of life’s most challenging illnesses. The list provided below is meant to provide you with a starting point. Take the time to review what’s here and see where it leads you. You’ll be surprised and pleased to see how many people are anxious to provide you with assistance.
Pink Ribbon Riders
About Pink Ribbon Riders: The Pink Ribbon Riders is a small non-profit organization that provides direct financial assistance to both men and women diagnosed with breast cancer. Funds raised are distributed through an assistance program that is made available to both men and women breast cancer patients. Patients that apply and meet all requirements receive $500.00 gift cards that can be used for medical bills, house, food or any needs while they are fighting the battle of breast cancer.
National Patient Travel Helpline
About National Patient Travel Helpline: National Patient Travel Helpline helps cancer patients get from here to there for treatment. They work with several other groups to connect cancer patients to the service best suited to their needs. You may qualify for Angel Flight, the Mercy Medical Airlift program, a program, that offers air ambulance services to vets of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and their families, or a fourth program, Air Compassion America, that helps patient find discounted air ambulance flights.
About Hope Lodge: Hope Lodge is a service of the American Cancer Society. Twenty-two lodges in 16 states and Puerto Rico currently provide temporary free housing for cancer patients who need outpatient treatment.
Fifth Season Financial
About 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.
Road to Recovery
About Road to Recovery: Another ACS program, Road to Recovery provides transportation to treatments locally for cancer patients who need it. The rides are arranged by calling the society’s toll-free number or the local American Cancer Society office.
About CancerCare: CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization that provides transportation, some side effect medications and child care costs to cancer patients in need of those services.
About NeedyMeds: NeedyMeds has no phone help line. Its website directs patients to patient assistance programs for brand name and generic drugs, government programs and other resources.
About Hill-Burton Act: This federal program provides construction and improvement funds to hospitals with strings attached — they must provide some amount of care free to those who cannot afford to pay. Nationwide, about 268 facilities are obligated under Hill-Burton.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition(CFAC)
About Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition: CFAC is a coalition of financial assistance organizations joining forces to help cancer patients experience better health and well-being by limiting financial challenges through educating patients and providers about existing resources and advocating on behalf of patients. Among CFAC’s member organizations are the American Cancer Society, Cancer Care, the National Marrow Donor Program and nine more. While CFAC cannot respond to individual requests for assistance group maintains a database of resources searchable by diagnosis, type of aid (housing, expenses, prosthetics) and zip code.
Patient Access Network Foundation (PAN)
(866) 316-PANF (7263)
About Patient Access Network Foundation: Patient Access Network Foundation helps people afford the copayments for cancer or chronic disease medications. Depending on their illness, insured patients can receive amounts between $1500 to $8500 a year in copayment.
(877) JOESHOU (877-563-7468)
About Joe’s House: Joe’s House is a nonprofit organization that helps cancer patients and their families find lodging near treatments centers. Their website lists cancers treatment centers and hospitals around the country with nearby lodging facilities that offer a discount. The site also lists lodging chain partners offering discounts.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
About Partnership for Prescription Assistance: Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need by putting them in touch any one of hundreds of programs tailored for different needs and conditions.
About Catholic Charities: Catholic Charities’ website offers a searchable database of member organizations around the nation. Many local groups offer programs to help families meet the costs of medical care.
Relieve financial stress with the FLAG Program, a viatical alternative that uses your life insurance for a cash advance