A cancer diagnosis changes everything. You immediately shift into a completely different gear, and are forced to realize exactly how inconsequential all of the things you once worried about really are. Day-to-day tasks and projects get put onto the back burner so that you can concentrate on keeping track of doctors’ appointments, and suddenly your concerns about petty arguments and grievances are shown for the distractions that they really are.
The change in your health status also means a change in your attitude and priorities. It can also mean a change in your ability to take care of the cancer bills, as you may be too sick to continue working – and even if you can work, you are suddenly faced with having to take care of all of the normal household bills in addition to quickly-mounting medical bills.
If you live in the state of Oklahoma and have found yourself under increasing stress from the weight of copays and out-of-pocket medical expenses, there are resources that have been created specifically to provide financial help for cancer patients and their caregivers. From local charities and assistance organizations to national cancer groups, help is available if you know where to find it.
One of the first lessons that cancer patients learn is that it is okay to ask for help, and this is true of financial support for cancer as well. Talk to your medical care provider to see whether they are aware of any kind of discounts or grants that may be available through their facility. They may have a social worker on staff who is familiar with different networks that can help. It’s also a good idea to talk to friends, neighbors and members of any cancer support network that you’re involved in, as you’ll find that people are happy to share information about all types of cancer resources that they’ve discovered.
Financial Resources for Cancer Patients in Oklahoma
Air Transportation Assistance
About Air Transportation Assistance: The American Cancer Society is pleased to partner with Air Charity Network in offering free air transportation to and from treatment for cancer patients and their families. For information on qualification guidelines, please call toll-free: 1-877-621-7177 or visit www.aircharitynetwork.org. Angel Flight, Inc. – Oklahoma – Angel Flight, Inc. is a nonprofit volunteer organization of pilots donating their time and use of their airplanes with the purpose of providing free air transportation to patients in the High Plains Division.
American Cancer Society (ACS) Resource Room
About American Cancer Society Resource Room: Wigs, turbans, prosthesis, mastectomy bras, information, and access to our Patient Navigators are available at our ACS Resource Rooms at Norman Regional Hospital and St. Mary’s Women’s Imaging Center in Enid. Patients can visit the Norman Resource Room Monday through Thursday, 9 am to 3 pm. Patients can visit the Enid Resource Room Monday through Friday, 10 am to 3 pm. Call 1-580-249-3991.
Assistance in Health Care
About Assistance in Health Care: Offers financial assistance to cancer patients receiving treatment within the Tulsa area. Money is provided for emergency non-medical expenses such as rent, utilities, car payments, etc.
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, and child care.
Fifth Season Financial
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.
About 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 – Oklahoma Chapter
About Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Oklahoma Chapter is an organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. The Oklahoma Chapter serves residents who have been touched by one of the blood cancers: leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
Look Good…Feel Better (LGFB)
About Look Good… Feel Better (LGFB): LGFB is a program designed to help women deal with the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Licensed cosmetologists volunteer their time to teach patients makeup techniques that can help a woman regain her sense of self-confidence and ultimately help her look good and feel better! Also included is information about wigs, turbans, and head wraps. Patients who attend a group session receive a free makeup kit valued at $300. Call 1-800-227-2345 for session locations and times. A “Look Good…Feel Better” self-help kit is available for patients who live in areas where no group session is available or who are ill or unable to find transportation to a group session. To receive the self-help kits call the Look Good…Feel Better toll-free number at 1-800-395-LOOK. A 30-minute video and patient instruction booklet is included with the self-help kit. (The makeup kit is not included.)
Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation
About Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation: Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation is dedicated to meeting the needs of Oklahoma families, caregivers, and patients affected by primary brain or central nervous system tumors. We work to provide for needs through education, advocacy, research, and service.
Oklahoma Project Woman
About Oklahoma Project Woman: Oklahoma Project Woman is a statewide comprehensive program providing free mammograms, diagnostic procedures, and surgical services for Oklahomans with no health insurance and limited financial resources. OPW is a collaborative effort linking multiple breast healthcare institutions to Oklahomans who may not be able to afford appropriate medical care. The organization fills a unique niche in the state by providing access to uninsured, low-income Oklahomans to a comprehensive clinical program. An individual can move seamlessly through our program by having a clinical breast exam, mammography, and if necessary, a diagnostic procedure and possible surgery. Breast healthcare has been made possible by a grant from Susan G. Komen Central and Western Oklahoma and Susan G. Komen Tulsa Oklahoma.
Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief
About Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief: National organization providing direct financial assistance to make prescription drug copayments.
Patient Navigation through American Cancer Society
About Patient Navigators: “Patient Navigators” provide information about cancer and treatment options. They answer your questions and suggest questions to ask the doctor. Navigators can also help with questions regarding financial and insurance needs, and locate resources for assistance. Additionally, they provide emotional support and information to your loved ones.
Road to Recovery
(918) 477-5400, Service/Intake
About Road to Recovery: Program of the Oklahoma Region of the American Cancer Society that offers free transportation to and from medically necessary appointments related to a cancer diagnosis. Road to Recovery serves Ada, Ardmore, Bartlesville, Enid, Idabel, Muskogee, McAlester, Oklahoma City, Shawnee, Stillwater, and Tulsa. Patients must be able to walk independently to get in and out of the vehicle and treatment facility. Our address is: 4110 South 100th East Avenue, Ste 101, Tulsa, OK 74146
About 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.
Government Sources of Financial Help for Cancer Patients in Oklahoma
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Information on public assistance and food stamps
Check phonebook for your local office
U.S. Administration on Aging
Benefits for older adults (Eldercare Locator finds resources in your community)
Social Security Administration
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services