Cancer treatment is expensive even with insurance. The good news is there is financial assistance available for many cancer patients. Here are some tips on how to find financial help for your medical/surgical/radiation copays and for your chemotherapy drugs.
Financial Assistance Options
Ask your cancer treatment center about financial aid.
You may be surprised to learn that many cancer treatment centers provide an oncology financial navigator. They might be an existing staff member or a full-time financial navigator. An oncology financial navigator ensures that each patient maximizes the benefits of their existing health insurance. They evaluate the potential gaps in coverage that a patient may encounter and help find financial assistance for copays and medications. Ideally, the financial navigator meets with the patient before treatment begins.
Other treatment centers may provide a social worker to help new patients, ensuring that they have transportation and adequate insurance. Some centers may have a charitable foundation that provides copay assistance for the treatment offered at the chemotherapy center.
The most important task that every newly diagnosed patient can do is ask about financial aid. Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be afraid. Cancer care is expensive, and insurance doesn’t cover all of the costs. Don’t assume that you earn too much money. There is more financial aid available than the most people realize.
Your healthcare team doesn’t want you to worry unnecessarily about the costs to help you overcome your diagnosis. Don’t be surprised if someone asks you if you’re going to need financial assistance. It’s not meant to hurt your feelings; it’s meant to help ease the financial burdens and worries that come with cancer care.
What if your cancer center doesn’t offer financial assistance?
It means that you’ll have to get proactive for yourself or for your loved one who has cancer. All you need to know is how to use Google. Begin your Google search with these words – “how to find financial help for cancer.”
Check out this Resource Page put together by the American Society of Clinical Oncologists. Virtually everything that cancer patients or their caregivers need is contained here. From sources for financial copay assistance or housing and travel assistance to medication cost assistance, you are likely to find the help you need right here.
Some funds who offer assistance may run out of funds by midyear. Don’t be discouraged. Keep on searching. Google “financial assistance” and the type of cancer – there are a number of diagnosis-specific organizations that provide financial assistance.
If you’re still hitting some roadblocks, Google “financial assistance” and the type of cancer and the state where you live. There are organizations within most states that only provide assistance to residents.
How to find financial help if you don’t have health insurance.
Sometimes, the unthinkable happens. Uninsured people are diagnosed with cancer. This is not the time to chastise them for not having insurance. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. A job loss, the death of a spouse or some other catastrophic event may put a person in that perilous situation.
Ask the physician who diagnosed you if they know of any local programs.
Google “your cancer type, no insurance, the state where you live” – the results will show you very specific help that is available for residents of that state.
If you are diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and are unable to continue working, apply for disability through Social Security. People who have sufficient work credits will receive approval quickly through their Compassionate Allowance program. While there is a waiting period of five months before a person will receive their first check, this safety net may open the doors to other help.
The Bottom Line…
Cancer treatment is expensive, but financial assistance is available for those in need. Choose Hope … it’s more than our website. It’s a pathway to an enriched life. Choose hope, advocate for yourself and your financial needs and you’ll find the financial assistance you need to help you complete your cancer journey