It is a sad but all too true reality that cancer patients, and those who provide them with love and support, spend an awful lot of their time worrying about money. Though it is conventional wisdom that people who are being treated for advanced illness should be focused entirely on their health and happiness while avoiding any kind of negativity or stress, the high cost of cancer care makes that impossible. Even those who have robust health insurance coverage end up paying an enormous amount of money out-of-pocket and often times deplete their precious cash reserves.
Depending upon the course of treatment, it is very common for cancer patients to find themselves having to choose between paying for their medical care and related expenses or their day-to-day bills, and many end up slowly sinking into debt. Competent and compassionate financial assistance for cancer is available, but you need to know where to look, and not be afraid to ask for help. Here are ten of the top financial resources for cancer patients, as well as links to their websites and basic information on what they can provide. Some provide support for the cost of cancer treatments and treatment-related expenses, while others provide help with travel and medication. All can be relied upon for cancer help.
How to Help Cancer Patients Pay Their Bills
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC)
www.cancerfac.org – The CFAC is a coalition of organizations helping cancer patients manage their financial challenges. Their goal is to facilitate communication and collaboration among member organizations, educate patients and providers about existing resources, and advocate on behalf of cancer patients. They offer a searchable database of financial resources based on both diagnosis and type of financial assistance needed.
www.cancercare.org – CancerCare is an organization that provides counseling, support groups, education and financial assistance for cancer patients and their caregivers. They offer funding for transportation, home care and child care to those suffering from a variety of diagnoses, and also provide access to professional oncology social workers who have a broad knowledge of other financial resources that may be available. Additionally, the organization has established its own Co-Payment Assistance Foundation to provide help with paying for chemotherapy or other targeted treatments.
www.healthwellfoundation.org – HealthWell’s goal is to fill the gap when health insurance is not enough They assist patients with chronic and life-altering illnesses having trouble paying for prescription drug copayments, deductibles and health insurance premiums. Their goal is to allow people to focus on their health.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
www.lls.org – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offers a variety of programs designed to provide financial support to those diagnosed with a blood cancer. These include their Co-Pay Assistance Program, Patient Travel Assistance Program, Financial Assistance Program for PCR Testing, and help with managing the paperwork involved in filing health insurance claims, appeals and managing household finances.
American Cancer Society
www.cancer.org – The American Cancer Society is dedicated to creating a world with less cancer and supporting those who have it, and as part of their mission of fighting back against cancer they provide links to local ACS branches that provide cancer patients with a variety of types of financial support.
www.patientresource.com – Patient Resource is an organization geared towards providing cancer patients and their families with comprehensive information on treatment and the resources available to them. Their website provides an extensive list of organizations that offer financial assistance for those affected by cancer, including those that provide help for basic living expenses, child care expenses, equipment and supplies, home health care expenses, insurance premium support, legal issues, medical care, post-treatment needs, prescription expenses, transportation, housing during treatment, government assistance, and a variety of grants, scholarships, awards and camps, and wish fulfillment.
Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) Co-Pay Relief
www.copays.org – The PAF Co-Pay Relief Program provides financial assistance to financially and medically qualified patients for co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles.
www.needymeds.org – NeedyMeds began as a centralized resource for information on pharmaceutical patient assistance program, but has grown to become a valuable resource on all types of financial assistance programs for medication and health care costs.
Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund
www.bmcf.net – Provides financial assistance to cover daily needs not covered by insurance such as co-payments, health expenses, rent and mortgage, insurance, transportation, car insurance, groceries and more for patients between the ages of 18 and 40.
Fifth Season Financial
www.fifthseasonfinancial.com – Provides people with advanced-stage illness a way to gain financial control and peace of mind by accessing the death benefit of their life insurance policy. Funds are available quickly with no out-of-pocket expense and no restriction on how the money is used.