Facing a serious illness, including a late-stage cancer diagnosis, is one of the most difficult things a family can go through. The feelings of grief, anger, and confusion can be extreme — and only rendered worse when compounded by uncertainty about how to pay for life-prolonging and ameliorating cancer treatment and care, while also juggling every-day bills and expenses.
Because battling illness often requires leaving work or going on disability, many extremely ill individuals find themselves with substantially reduced income and/or without medical insurance when they need it most. Unfortunately, even those who have health insurance coverage are likely to find themselves overwhelmed by cancer bills and the copays that typically go along with radiation therapy, diagnostic testing, oral chemotherapy and other essential cancer treatment. In addition, though insurance may cover some forms of palliative care, in-home assistance, transportation to and from treatment, and other quality-of-life improving services often do not qualify for health insurance coverage, leaving patients in need of cancer care financial assistance.
So, what options do California residents who have cancer and need financial help have when it comes to financing quality care and maintaining their quality of life while battling an illness? We’ve compiled a list of California-specific and national resources that can help you start your research on how to ease the burden of medical bills, housing costs, and other major expenses.
In addition to the links listed below, those looking into options for financing quality of life for persons with advanced illnesses may want to look into viatical settlements, traditional life insurance loans, and unique opportunities like the Fifth Season Financial’s Funds for Living Program.
The innovative Funds For Living Program structures monetary advances like a loan secured solely by your life insurance policy’s death benefit. Qualified individuals with a life insurance policy can expect to receive 10%-60% of their policy’s face value as a lump sum or a line of credit. Unlike the funds allocated by medical insurance or not-for-profits, the money you receive from the Funds For Living Program is completely unrestricted –meaning you can use it for anything from paying for in-home care, to making the most of your final years through travel, to paying off your family’s home. Fifth Season will also assume all future premium payments on the life insurance policy, and makes sure all interest payments and fees are paid out of the policy instead of the patient’s pocket. And, because Fifth Season Financial is a licensed consumer lender in the State of California, you can trust that you’ll be working with a reliable source of financial assistance.
To find out more about this unique opportunity, head to https://www.fifthseasonfinancial.com/funds-for-living-program/.
California Organizations That May Offer Cancer-Related Financial Assistance
California Department of Insurance
State Insurance Commissioner’s Office
Regulates Insurance companies by reviewing policy files, rate rules and forms. Handles complaints and inquiries against insurance companies. Answers general questions about insurance policies.
California Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Investigates nursing home complaints, acts as an advocate for nursing home residents, and mediates disputes between nursing homes and residents or their families. Ombudsmen are ready to help if you need information on the nursing homes in your state, or if you have a complaint about a nursing home.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
The CHIP program also known as Healthy Families was created in order to provide health insurance to children who are presently uninsured. This state has submitted State plans to access funds authorized under Title XXXI of the Social Security Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To request a copy of the State plan, contact the State office listed above.
A federal/state insurance program which covers specified medical expenses for low-income aged, blind, and disabled whose income and resources are insufficient to meet the cost of necessary medical services.
California Managed Risk Medical
Provides health insurance options for high risk individuals. There are state programs, sometimes called “risk pools,” that serve people who have pre-existing health conditions, and often are denied, or have difficult finding affordable coverage in the private market.
California Department of Aging
Provides a variety of services such as adult day health care, meals-on-wheels, volunteer services, and financial aid for the elderly.
Adult Day Health Care
A program, which provides health, therapeutic, and social services to serve the specialized need of elderly and disabled individuals.
Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program
Provides counseling on Medicare, managed care, and other private health insurance issues.
Multipurpose Senior Services Program
The services that MSSP clients may utilize include case management, adult social day care, housing assistance, chore and personal care assistance, respite care, transportation, meal services, protective services and communication services.
Senior Community Service Employment Program
Provides low-income seniors over age 55 with part-time subsidized employment.
Emergency Food Assistance Program
A program, which provides emergency food, supplies to low- and no-income households and individuals. The following are a listing of EFAP food distribution agencies.
Provides local financial assistance to help people with all cancers in San Diego, California. Financial help is for transportation, radiation, chemotherapy, pain medications, home care, childcare, and some screening and biopsies. For more information visit Cancer Care website or call toll-free.
Governmental Resources for Cancer Patients
- S. Department of Health & Human Services
- S. Administration on Aging
- Social Security Administration
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Additional Sources of Financial Help for Cancer Patients
Beyond these governmental programs there are a number of private organizations offering financial support for cancer patients. The groups below are a great place to start:
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’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more.
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, and child care.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition: A coalition of 14 member organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Lymphoma Research Foundation and many more that have come together to provide a resource for cancer patients in need of financial assistance. Website provides a database of available help based on diagnosis and type of need, specific to the patient’s zip code.
HealthWell Foundation: HealthWell’s goal is to provide patients living with chronic and life-altering illnesses financial assistance in paying prescription drug copayments, deductibles, and health insurance premiums.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: LLS is the leading source of free, highly specialized blood cancer information, education and support for patients, survivors, families and healthcare professionals. We touch patients in their communities through our chapters across the U.S. and Canada. We advocate for blood cancer survivors and their families, helping patients navigate their cancer treatments and ensuring they have access to quality, affordable and coordinated care.
Lymphoma Research Foundation: The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) offers a financial assistance program for people currently undergoing treatment for lymphoma. Through this program, LRF may be able to assist with quality-of-life expenses.
National Marrow Donor Program: Our patient services coordinators help patients and their families answer questions about their disease and transplant, understand the donor search process, navigate insurance coverage and financial options, and prepare for life after transplant. Our goal is to help patients get what they need, when they need it.
Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief: National organization providing direct financial assistance to make prescription drug copayments.
Patient Advocate Foundation: Patient Advocate Foundation’s Colorectal CareLine is designed to provide assistance to patients who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and are seeking education and access to care. Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) is a national 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which provides professional case management services to Americans with chronic, life threatening and debilitating illnesses. PAF case managers serve as active liaisons between the patient and their insurer, employer and/or creditors to resolve insurance, job retention and/or debt crisis matters as they relate to their diagnosis also assisted by doctors and healthcare attorneys. Patient Advocate Foundation seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.
Sarcoma Alliance: The Sarcoma Alliance offers financial support in the form of grants. There is the Hand in Hand: The Suzanne Renée Leider Memorial Assistance Fund was created to support sarcoma patients in finding the treatment they need. Hand in Hand offers financial assistance for second opinion consultations by reimbursing expenses related to travel, phone bills, costs of the evaluation, and related expenses. The Sarcoma Alliance Assistance Fund reimburses expenses directly associated with getting a second opinion from a sarcoma specialist. The Sarcoma Alliance recommends that a second opinion be sought at a sarcoma center or from a physician with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of sarcoma and who has access to physicians in other specialties with similar expertise. The Assistance Fund does not pay for ongoing treatment subsequent to the second opinion.
About Fifth Season Financial: Fifth Season Financial is a licensed consumer lender in business since 2007 and member of the Better Business Bureau. We are the leader in providing access to much needed funds from an often-overlooked asset – life insurance. We work with patients who have diagnoses of aggressive stage II, III or IV cancers, congestive heart failure, COPD, ALS, MLS and other serious health conditions. Over the past several years, we have provided more than $115 million in financial assistance to nearly 400 families. No credit check. No income requirements.