There was once a time when people who were diagnosed with cancer were essentially told to go home, put their affairs in order, and wait to die. How different things are today! With state-of-the-art treatments that have successfully put many patients into remission and significantly extended the lives of many others, cancer patients are able to live long, meaningful lives.
Unfortunately, this dramatic change in outlook is not without a cost. The medical treatments that help us battle the disease are costly, even for those who have health insurance. Those who have chosen high deductible insurance policies suddenly find themselves facing very large cancer bills as their treatments continue, and even those with the more expensive low deductible policies are often shocked at the impact that copays, coinsurance and deductibles can have. Add to this the fact that some treatments that are deemed to be ‘experimental’ aren’t covered, and that the sicker the patient gets, the less likely they are to be able to continue working, and paying cancer bills can become a very real problem.
If you are a cancer patient in North Carolina and you are finding yourself struggling to pay your bills, there are a number of financial resources available that can provide you with significant savings. From organizations that assist cancer patients with their copays and deductibles to grassroots efforts that provide free housecleaning for those who are facing breast cancer, there is a world of help available if you just look for it and are willing to ask. Here are some of the best financial resources available in your area. Some are national and some are local, but all are aimed at making your life easier.
Cancer Services, Inc.
800-228-7421 (In-state only) 336-760-9983
About Cancer Services, Inc.: Provides medication and financial assistance, surgical supplies and equipment, transportation assistance, wigs, prostheses and peer support. Provides direct financial assistance to people in Forsyth, Davie, Stokes and Yadkin counties. Non-residents of these counties needing medication and financial assistance may still call, and they may be referred to services in the community, as well as national resources. Non-financial assistance is provided free of charge regardless of where you reside.
About Cancer Care: Nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to those with cancer, as well as connections with other financial assistance resources. Funding is available for transportation, home care, child care, pain medications, chemotherapy, radiation, and lymphedema services. There are income guidelines.
Hill-Burton Free Care Program
About Hill-Burton Free Care Program: Federal government program that arranges for certain medical facilities to provide free or low-cost care. Each Hill-Burton facility may choose which types of services to provide at no charge or reduced charge. Eligibility depends upon income. Application should be made to the individual facility where you are seeking treatment. North Carolina currently has the Hill-Burton program (or similar program) active at six facilities across the state: (Piedmont Health Services, Chapel Hill; Cumberland County Health Department, Fayetteville; Snow Hill Medical Center, Snow Hill; New Hanover Community Health Center, Wilmington; and Lutheran Nursing Home, Salisbury).
Fifth Season Financial
About Fifth Season Financial: Fifth Season Financial offer the Funds for Living 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 by using their life insurance policy as collateral. The Funds For Living Program has provided over $115 million in funds to hundreds of families. Learn more: www.fifthseasonfinancial.
About LifeWise Foundation: A public charity created to help with financial burdens of terminally ill patients and their families. Services include grants to terminally ill patients who are facing financial challenges, but are unable to meet the eligibility requirements for state or private aid. Also provides information on other sources of financial assistance and gives advice about effective financial management in a free Financial Resource Guide.
American Cancer Society
(800) 227-2345 or (866) 228-4327 (TTY)
About American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. We provide limited financial assistance in a “Stop Gap” fund when there are no community resources available or when delays in receiving them are unacceptable. Funds are for transportation, emergency medication, and supplies.
About Co-Pay Relief: Sponsored by Patient Advocate Foundation. Provides assistance with prescriptions for insured patients who have been diagnosed with Autoimmune Disorders, Diabetes, Lymphoma, Sarcoma, Macular Degeneration, Breast, Colon, Lung, Kidney, and Prostate Cancers.
About Linking A.R.M.S.: A partnership between Susan G. Komen Foundation and CancerCare. Offers limited financial assistance for oral medications, pain and anti-nausea medication, lymphedema support, and supplies, and medical equipment.
Women Helping Women (Raleigh, NC)
About Women Helping Women: Nonprofit organization assists low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women financially with purchase of prostheses, wigs, hats and turbans, and with emergency medical funds. Provides information about follow-up care and resources available. Currently services the Triangle area, and other North Carolina counties where possible.
National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses
828.253.1188 or 800.542.9730
About National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses: Helps provide free or low-cost family-centered lodging and support services to people needing medical treatment away from home and families. Call the toll-free number or see web site for updated listing and contact info for North Carolina houses. Currently, 14 hospitality or similar-type houses are in North Carolina.
Relieve financial stress with the Funds For Living Program.