The costs of undergoing cancer treatment can be staggering. For many people, insurance covers only a portion of the economic burden that a cancer diagnosis can put on a household. Battling Cancer has put together a list of over 25 government and non-profit programs that can provide financial assistance for hospitalization, ambulatory, medication and other costs for cancer patients and survivors.
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: This nation-wide, community based organization provides information, support, and financial assistance programs throughout the United States. Some of their programs include the following:
The Hope Lodge provides temporary housing for cancer patients during their treatments.
Road to Recovery aims to help cancer patients and their families defray the costs of transportation during treatment.
Taking Charge of Money Matters is a workshop that educates both cancer patients and families about financial planning
Visit the American Cancer Society website at www.cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345 to talk to someone at your local office.
BRAIN TUMOR SOCIETY: This non-profit organization offers some financial assistance through their BTS CARES program. Find out more by calling 1-800-770-8287 or visiting them on the web at www.tbts.org.
CANCER CARE: Cancer CARE is a national nonprofit organization that provides free professional support services for anyone affected by cancer. The organization gives a limited number of grants to cover patient medical expenses and also sponsors the following programs:
The Linking A.R.M.S. program is a partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization that provides financial assistance for chemotherapy, medication, lymphoma supplies, and other medical equipment for supplies for breast cancer patients.
The AVONCares Program for Medically Underserved Women co-sponsored by the the Avon Foundation provides financial assistance for supportive services like transportation, childcare, and home care.
Visit the Cancer Care financial aid page or call 1-800-813-4673 for more information.
CANDLELIGHTERS CHILDHOOD CANCER FOUNDATION: This non-profit organization provides information, resources and support for patients and families affected by childhood cancers. Some financial assistance is available through their sponsored programs. Find out more at www.candlelighters.org or by calling 1-800-366-2223.
CENTER FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: This federal and state resource can provide financial assistance with hospitalizations and other health-related costs. Participants may also be eligible for home care services, including part-time nursing and possibly medical supplies. Visit the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services at www.cms.gov/medicaid/consumer.asp for more information.
ELDERCARE LOCATOR: This federal referral service can help provide practical needs to the elderly, including assistance with housing needs. Visit www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare/Public/Home.asp or call 1-800-677-1116 for more information.
GOVBENEFITS.GOV: This confidential matching service can help cancer patients find government benefit programs that may help defray the medical and non-medical costs incurred after diagnosis. Call 1-800-333-4636 or visit www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits_en.portal for more information.
HEALTH RESOURCES AND SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: The Bureau of Primary Health Care offers health centers that can provide medical coverage regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. See more at ask.hrsa.gov/pc.
HILL-BURTON FREE AND REDUCED COST HEALTH CARE: Through a partnership with the federal government, hospitals receiving modernization funds are required to absorb the hospitalization costs of a certain percentage of their patients who cannot afford them. To find out if your hospital is a Hill-Burton facility, visit www.hrsa.gov/hillburton/default.htm or call 1-800-638-0742 for more information.
INSURE KIDS NOW: If the cancer patient is an uninsured child, visit www.insurekidsnow.gov or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW to enroll in this program aimed at providing children with insurance in the United States.
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE: Cancer patients can be eligible for tax deductions for medical costs not covered by insurance such as travel, out-of-pocket, drugs, meals and more. Find out more at www.irs.gov or by calling 1-800-829-1040.
KELLY ANN DOLAN MEMORIAL FUND: This financial assistance program can help defray costs for chronically ill children in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Visit www.kadmf.org or call 1-800-642-8399 for more information.
LIVESTRONG: The Lance Armstrong Foundation can help provide financial assistance for cancer survivors that are 6 months post-treatment with no evidence with disease to help defray the costs of follow-up visits and transportation. Visit www.livestrong.org 1-866-235-7205 for more information.
LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA SOCIETY: The LLS aims to provide support for patients with leukemia, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or multiple myeloma. Supplementary financial aid can be provided for patients with significant financial need. More information can be found at their financial aid page or by calling 1-800-955-4572.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS: If you find that you’re having trouble getting your insurance to pay for covered items, visit www.naic.org or (816) 842-3600 for tips on how to get your bills paid.
NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTES CANCER INFORMATION SERVICE: Find out more about local education or financial assistance programs near you by calling 1-800-4-CANCER or visiting them on the web.
NATIONAL PATIENT TRAVEL HELPLINE: The National Patient Travel Helpline exists to assist sick patients with free or affordable transportation costs through the donations. More information can be found at www.patienttravel.org or by calling 1-800-296-1217.
NATIONAL TRANSPLANT ASSISTANCE FUND: A unique program that helps provide fundraising ideas for patients to cover uninsured medical expenses. Find more information at their website, www.transplantfund.org.
NEEDYMEDS: This non-profit organization offers assistance to cancer patients and others to help find patient assistance programs to defray medication costs. Visit www.needymeds.com for more information.
PATIENT ADVOCATE FOUNDATION: The Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability. Their outreach section is an invaluable resource for cancer patients who find themselves overwhelmed with medical bills. They sponsor a number of programs, including the following:
The Co-pay Relief Program can help provide direct financial support. Find out more by calling 1–866–512–3861.
The Colorectal Care Line provides both information and financial assistance to those diagnosed with colorectal cancer. More information can be found by calling 1-866-657-8634.
Find more information about the Patient Advocacy Foundation at www.patientadvocate.org or by calling them at 1-800-532-5274.
PHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH AND MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA: This organization has an extensive list of manufacturer patient assistance programs. Read more at www.pparx.org/Intro.php or call 1-888-477-2669.
SPARROW CLUBS USA: This youth-based organization is aimed at spreading altruism at an early age. Many sparrow clubs focus on helping other sick children, including cancer patients, through their fundraising efforts. Find out more at www.sparrowclubs.org or by calling 541-312-8630.
YOUR HOSPITAL’S SOCIAL WORKER: Always check with your doctor and your treatment center’s social worker first for financial counseling — often, they can help you defray costs directly before you even see the hospital bills.
Of course, there are still many more charitable organizations out there that may be able to provide you with financial assistance. Check out your local United Way, Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Social Services, Catholic Charities, American Legion, Elks Club, Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, or Rotary Club for more information. Also check out the American Association for Cancer Research’s extensive list of cancer support groups and organizations for even more information.
Cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers — have you used any of these resources before? Tell us about your experience here in the comments section!