Patient advocates can help patients manage the cost of their healthcare, especially when patients are seriously ill and can’t research different financial resources themselves. Certain illnesses and conditions, especially cancer, can be a huge financial burden on patients and their families.
Government-sponsored programs and services supported by national nonprofit organizations are available for people who do not have health insurance and for those who have insurance but still need financial assistance to cover healthcare costs.
Financial assistance programs for cancer patients include:
HealthWell Foundation: This non-profit organization helps address the needs of individuals with insurance who cannot afford their copayments, coinsurance, and premiums for important medical treatments.
Cancer Financial Assistance Foundation: This foundation is a coalition of financial assistance organizations that has come together with the goal of helping cancer patients experience better health and well-being by limiting financial challenges.
CancerCare's Financial Assistance Program: CancerCare offers limited assistance for cancer-related costs, and the organization’s professional oncology social workers can help individuals find other resources. CancerCare can help with costs associated with transportation to and from appointments, home care, child care, pain medication and lymphedema supplies. To qualify for assistance, individuals need to meet eligibility requirements and share information about their income, savings and expenses. Healthcare professionals must also provide information about the patients’ diagnoses to the organization. CancerCare's financial assistance does not cover basic living expenses such as rent, mortgages, utility payments, or food.
National Foundation for Transplants: This organization provides fundraising assistance to transplant patients in all 50 states plus U.S. territories. Patients or their caregivers can request information about the fundraising assistance program by calling 800-489-3863 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for this information. After an initial conversation with a consultant, the foundation will send patients a packet of information, including an application, policy agreement and other materials to begin the process.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Patient Financial Aid Program: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides a limited amount of financial assistance to help patients with significant financial need. Patients are eligible if they are under a doctor's care for a confirmed blood cancer diagnosis. This financial aid program provides $100 a year to help patients offset expenses. Receipts for expenses are not required. To apply, you must be a U.S. resident or U.S. military personnel stationed abroad and in active treatment or ongoing medical follow-up care for a blood cancer. Your prescribing healthcare provider must complete and sign the bottom portion of the application form. The program begins each July 1st and ends on the following June 30th. You must reapply every year after June 30th in order to receive assistance.
United Way: While the United Way does not have a specific financial assistance program for cancer patient, local branches can help with individuals’ basic living expenses, including rent or a mortgage, utility payments and food.
Community hospitals, local health departments and state and local social services agencies can also be possible sources of financial assistance.