Top 12 Tips for Finding Financial Help

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Are you looking for financial assistance with direct medical costs (co-pays, deductibles), related non-medical costs (transportation, gas, child care) or daily living expenses (rent, utilities)? With effort and persistence, you can find some help.

As an all-volunteer operation MBCN does not give direct aid and unfortunately can’t provide one-on-one advice. But we have compiled the following 12 resources and urge you to check them out. You can find more resources at www.mbcn.org.

  1. Talk With Your Health Care Team Often a social worker or financial person at your hospital or infusion center can offer suggestions and direct you to local resources.
  2. Social Security Disability Options Many people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, also called advanced breast cancer or Stage IV breast cancer, qualify for Social Security Disability under the compassionate allowance program. (This assumes you have the required work history.) Note that you need to have your own insurance coverage for a two-year waiting period before Medicare takes effect. See www.ssa.gov.
  3. Early Life Insurance Payouts A life insurance policy ordinarily pays benefits to a beneficiary after a policy owner dies. Those benefits are accelerated if they are paid directly to a chronically or terminally ill policy owner before he or she dies. Check with your insurance agent or company to see if your policy includes or offers the option. Group policies for term or permanent life insurance may also provide accelerated benefits; check with your benefits administrator.
  4. Cancer Care’s State-By-State Sourcebook: “A Helping Hand- The Resource Guide for People with Cancer” is at www.cancercare.org. Call Cancer Care at 800-813-4673 to speak to an oncology social worker.
  5. The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (www.cancerfac.org) is a group of 14 organizations who provide a searchable database of resources available to you based on your diagnosis and zip code. Enter both and to get a list of organizations that potentially can help you, including those local to your state or area.
  6. Check with Individual Pharmaceutical Companies Almost every pharmaceutical company has patient assistance programs to help patients with the co-pay for specific drugs. The website is usually the name of the drug. So, for example, if you are taking Herceptin and need information on assistance with co-pays, go to www.herceptin.com. Similarly, for Afinitor: go to www.afinitor.com. For Xgeva, see www.xgeva.com.
  7. The Health Well Foundation offers assistance with copay or insurance premium payments for insured patients, based on availability of funds. They have a quick eligibility test online. See www.healthwellfoundation.org.
  8. Patient Access Network Foundation provides co-pay, deductible and medication financial assistance: See www.panfoundation.org.
  9. PAF Financial Aid Fund Division is an independent division of Patient Advocate Foundation. It provides small grants to patients who meet financial and medical criteria. Patients who are interested in applying for financial assistance should start by calling this division toll free at (855) 824-7941.
  10. Help Now Fund provides emergency financial assistance to help people in active treatment with their rent and utilities. See www.thebreastcancercharities.org/help-now-fund/.
  11. Call 211 Many communities have a 211 information and referral service funded by The United Way. Call 211 or go to www.211.org for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more. Available in English and Spanish.
  12. Freebies and Discounts for Cancer Patients: 1 Up on Cancer compiled this list: www.1uponcancer.com/freebies-and-discounts-for-cancer-patients/
External Resources

MJH Associates
American Journal of Managed Care
Cure
MD Magazine
Pharmacy Times
Physicians' Education Resource
Specialty Pharmacy Times
TargetedOnc
OncNurse Resources

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