Find Financial Help When You have Cancer

Extracted from CancerCare.org

Cancer is an expensive illness. Many of the people who contact cancer agencies  each year cite financial need as a major source of difficulty. Some have no health insurance, some are insured but don’t have coverage for parts of their treatment such as prescription drug co-pays, and many do not have extra income to meet new costs such as child care or transportation to treatment. People with cancer and their caregivers often have to cut back on time spent at work, which means their income decreases at the same time that their bills pile up.

Financial stress often causes emotional stress. For example, when a family is under new financial pressures, it can create feelings of worry, sadness, and anxiety. Because cancer treatment often means years of medical care, financial concerns can influence major life decisions about work, housing, and school. There is assistance available, and CancerCare can help you navigate the maze of government, nonprofit, and pharmaceutical programs, as well as other sources of financial help. Here are some of the things you can do:

Talk to your insurance company. Many companies will assign a case manager to help you work through insurance concerns, clarify benefits, and suggest ways to get other health services.

Talk to your health care providers about your needs. Many treatment centers have social workers who help you sort through financial concerns. CancerCare social workers can also help you.

Find out which government programs (entitlements) you are eligible for, and apply promptly. To contact the Social Security Administration, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov. To contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, call 1-800-633-4227 or visit www.cms.gov. For Medicaid information, contact local listings for a Medicaid office in your state.

Learn how private organizations can help you. There are nonprofit programs for co-pay relief, as well as pharmaceutical patient assistance programs to help those who do not qualify for other aid. See our listing of financial assistance resources.

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