Worrying about Money
Cancer is expensive. In addition to the direct costs of medical visits, treatments, drugs, pharmacy bills, etc., there are always indirect expenses that make life more difficult. Many women are not able to continue with full-time work during treatment and, therefore, have less income. Even good disability insurance policies tend to pay, at most, 60% of one's regular salary. There are also likely to be bills for services and/or things that ordinarily are not part of a budget: more childcare, more take-out meals, extra household help, and, with current gas prices, more driving that is expensive.
The information below is from Cancer Care, a wonderful organization that provides many services and information to people living with cancers. Even if you are not experiencing financial difficulties, I would encourage you to review their website and learn about some of their other resources. It is also important to speak with an oncology social worker or nurse in your doctor's office if you are experiencing financial problems. There generally are local organizations that can be helpful.
Sources of Financial Assistance
For people with cancer and their families, the financial costs are often overwhelming. Even with insurance, many people are underinsured. For the uninsured and those who cannot work, a financial crisis may develop. This fact sheet describes various sources of financial assistance. It includes phone numbers and website addresses for internet sites we have found to be useful. If you do not have access to a computer or have difficulty using one, consider visiting a public library. Most libraries provide access to computers and have staff members who can assist you.
There are a number of federal and state programs that provide financial benefits to individuals and families. These benefits, known as entitlements, include programs such as Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, Medicaid and public assistance. These programs are primarily set up for low-income households, the elderly, and the disabled. Each has eligibility requirements. There are also a variety of programs administered through state governments that can help with health care-related needs.
For information about Social Security benefits, visit www.ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213.
For information about medical assistance through Medicare and Medicaid, visit www.cms.hhs.gov or call 1-877-267-2323.
To find out about benefits such as public assistance or food stamps, contact your local Department of Human Services (check phonebook for listings) or visit www.os.dhhs.gov
If you are an older person, you might be eligible for benefits through the U.S. Administration on Aging. For information, visit www.eldercare.gov to access the Eldercare Locator or call 1-800-677-1116.
Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs
In addition to conducting research and developing new medicines, many pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs. Programs and services offered differ from company to company but may include help with insurance reimbursement, referrals to co-pay relief programs, and help with the application process. Many companies also offer medications at little or no cost to individuals who do not qualify for other assistance. To find a patient assistance program, consult the websites of the specific drug companies that manufacture the medications you take. Or, ask your doctor about patient assistance programs for the drugs you are prescribed.
For links to pharmaceutical programs and other resources for financial assistance, log onto the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) website www.pparx.org.
To speak with a patient assistance program specialist, call1-888-4-PPA-NOW.
For Cancer Care 1-800-813-HOPE (4673), Email email@example.com, Web www.cancercare.org (over) Inform® Fact Sheet
Nonprofit Programs for Co-Pay Relief
There are a number of nonprofit organizations that provide help for expenses such as drug co-payments, deductibles, and other medical costs. These programs offer different types of assistance and have their own eligibility requirements. Contact each organization to learn more.
Nonprofit Organizations for Help with Practical Needs
In addition to help with managing the cost of medicines and treatment, people with cancer often need assistance with things like transportation, household help, and child care. To help with these practical needs and other concerns, a number of nonprofit organizations have useful programs or referral information. These organizations include Cancer Care. Their Oncology social workers are well trained in financial issues and are familiar with assistance programs offered by government agencies, pharmaceutical companies and nonprofit organizations, and will work with you to get the help you need. Cancer Care can also provide limited grants for cancer-related expenses like transportation, child care, and home care.
To contact, dial 1-800-813-HOPE (4673) or visit www.cancercare.org to learn more.
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Patient Access Network Foundation – www.patientaccessnetwork.org or 1-866-316-7263
Healthwell Foundation – www.healthwellfoundation.org or 1-800-675-8416
Patient Advocate Foundation's Co-Pay Relief Program – www.copays.org or 1-866-512-3861
Patient Services Incorporated – www.uneedpsi.org or 1-800-366-7741
National Organization for Rare Disorders – www.rarediseases.org or 1-203-744-0100
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – www.lls.org/copay or 1-877-557-2672
The American Cancer Society's Community Resource Connection (CRC) – www.cancer.org or 1-800-ACS-2345 United Way – www.national.unitedway.org (check phonebook for local office) Organizations such as Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Family Services, and various community and social service organizations, check phonebook for listings.
Cancer Care - www.cancercare.org or 1-800-813-HOPE (4673)
American Cancer Society – www.cancer.org or 1-800-ACS-2345
Brain Tumor Society (BTS Cares) – www.tbts.org or 1-800-770-8287
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – www.lls.org or 1-800-955-4572
Lymphoma Research Foundation – www.lymphoma.org or 1-800-500-9976
National Brain Tumor Foundation – www.braintumor.org or 1-800-934-2873
National Marrow Donor Program – www.marrow.org or 1-888-999-6743
This fact sheet was made possible by an educational grant from Novartis Oncology.