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Financial Assitance for Co-Pays for Chemotheraphy

LindaK.
Posts: 360
Joined: Apr 2013

Does anyone know of any valid, current programs to help with co-pay assistance for chemotherapy?  I have gone through the following:

CancerCare Co-pay Assistance Program    - out of money

Drug Company (for 5FU) Patient Assistance Program - they referred me to

Partnership for RX assistance - they referred me to

Community Health Advocates, NY Health Insurance Assistance, and back to the drug companies

After 30+ minutes, the Partnership for RX assistance basically told me we were not eligilble for any assitance.

I have received no helpful information from anyone, especially the drug company.  It's funny that the drug company referred me to the Partnership for RX assistance and the Partnership for RX assistance referred me back to the drug companies.

We have insurance, we pay $45 in co-pays for each chemo treatment.  We do not make a lot of money and have some assets. 

Maybe I'm naive, but all these cancer fund raisers and now that we need some financial assitance, it seems like you have to beg for any help.  I am a proud person and to even ask for $10 makes me feel like a begger.

One of these places I called wouldn't even give me information without a SS#, which I refused to give them.

Between the hospitalization fees, doctors fees, surgeon follow ups, etc. we're getting co-paid to the max.  I really appreciate the insurance we have, but it's hitting our bank account hard.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1337
Joined: Apr 2010

 

Hi,

You might want to ask your hospital's Financial Assistance Department.  We didn't quality for any assistance, so we always had to pay out of pocket.

Best of luck.

This is from my local hospital:

Criteria & Application

To qualify for any of these programs, our patients must complete a formal application for charitable care within 120 days of receiving medically necessary services from the hospital, and only after all insurance benefits, and/or financial aid from third party payers, state and federal assistance programs, charitable or endowment funds have been exhausted. Charitable care will be available only for medical services that are reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury. Individuals who receive or want a cosmetic procedure are not eligible for financial assistance.

Criteria Categories for Financial Assistance:

  • Family income, in relation to the established federal poverty guidelines
  • Assets (i.e., home, bank accounts and stocks)
  • Receipt of documents stating medically necessary care is required
  • Any additional hardship (explanation required)

If you feel you may qualify, please call the Patient Financial Services; a financial advisor will assist you with the application for charitable care and investigate other sources that might provide financial assistance for the medical care you need. 

LindaK.
Posts: 360
Joined: Apr 2013

I have a feeling we will not qualify since we have assets, but low income. 

Thanks for the info.  I am still waiting 7 months for the hospital to refund an emergency room fee since my husband was admitted within 24 hours so I don't have too much confidence in them, ha ha.

jen2012
Posts: 1251
Joined: Aug 2012

This is so frustrating...we have gotten so backed up with med bills. On top of the medical stress we have to deal with collection people. Really annoying to have them bill for every little thing when they just got a $45000 check from ins for surgery. Grrrrr!

Avastin does a co pay program if he is getting that. I'm fighting with the hospital to get them to make the effort to break down the bill to see we can get help. We had a $4100 infusion bill in Jan and they are telling me that no part of that was for avastin.

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2992
Joined: Jan 2010

It sounds like you have tried most of the ferquently suggested option.  Does your insurance have an out of pocket annual max?

You may want to contact Social Services in your area to see if they can offer assistance in any other form, which would give you a bit more for the co-pays.

Also check with the American Cancer Society.  I know they offer gas cards to help cover cost of getting to and from medical appointments, etc.

Anything you can save on something else, may help ease the pain of the co-pay.

Marie who loves kitties

Maxiecat's picture
Maxiecat
Posts: 524
Joined: Jul 2012

We have been hit pretty hard with medical bills as well.  I have had to start selling things that we no longer need.  Thankfully we have a lot of baby and kids things.  I always wanted another child so I kept everything from strollers to bins of kids clothes and toys.  I have made about $200 so far and put all of that towards my monthly payment plan to the oncologist's office.  I also do a lot of needlework and have gone through all of my patterns and put a lot of them up for sale on one of the groups I am on...I made about $200 last month doing that.  

I have started doing things like clipping coupons, we cut back our vacation this year from a week at the beach to 3 days mid-week which is about 2/3rds of the cost per night, my husband brings his lunch now, and I just don't go out and shop much.  We also don't qualify for any financial help...I have just had to get creative to get a hold on this.  And to think the $$$ drain will start all over again in January.  i have a payment plan set up w/both the hospital and my local oncologist.  I have not seen the bills from the specialist yet...but thankfully we are very close to the max out of pocket for the year.  If all goes well, I will have all of the credit cards and this year's medical bills paid off by the end of the year.  

I keep looking for ways to get creative with the finances.  We don't go out to eat much...once in April and then last week when we went to Baltimore we had lunch from a food truck...it was fabulous...very healthy ...they had been featured on one of the food network or cooking channel shows...that was a real treat.  This kids will be off from school for the summer in about a week or 2... But once they go back I plan on going back to work...if everything goes well with my surgery in July and they find that I don't need HIPEC.

i know my situation may not apply to you...just keep trying.   Maybe it is time to do something radical...like getting in touch w/your local news and see if they are willing to do a story on how something like a cancer diagnosis affects cancer patients.  It might lead to some help from the pharmaceutical companies.  Or, talk to someone at your church...let them know how you are doing... Maybe they can sponsor a fundraiser for you And other families in your church... A fund that you could dip into for assistance when things get bad.

jen2012
Posts: 1251
Joined: Aug 2012

Alex...you should be able to get ss disability.

We are trying to cut expenses too but we already didn't have cable..smart phones etc. We were just wondering about summer vacation..should we be responsible and just pay bills or say screw the docs and hospitals and have some fun with our hard earned $$!

bailee2012
Posts: 61
Joined: Jul 2012

I vote for a family vacation that I'm sure the whole family could use after the past year.  Screw the docs and hospitals and go have fun and make memories.  Those bills will be waiting til you get around to em.  A Lil bit longer won't hurt em.  

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1337
Joined: Apr 2010

I vote for FUN!!  Bills can wait, but you guys shouldn't - get out and enjoy yourselves!!!!  GO!

jen2012
Posts: 1251
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks ladies...we are leaning towards going...hoping he could extend his leave to include a week after kids get out of school.
How are things going Baillee?

bailee2012
Posts: 61
Joined: Jul 2012

Scan in march showed spread to lower spine and new lung mets.   Sigh.  Got started back on oxi and added avastin.  Been on that for couple months now and new scans at end of month so hoping for improvement.  Its been a year now since dx and i can tell this mess is taking a toll on both of us.  Hope things are going well for your hubby.  Seems like last I can recall he had surgery went well.  Make sure you guys go on that vacation!!!  

jen2012
Posts: 1251
Joined: Aug 2012

Sorry to hear that Bailee. I hope the scan is good!

jen2012
Posts: 1251
Joined: Aug 2012

Sorry to hear that Bailee. I hope the scan is good!

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2070
Joined: Oct 2009

I found in my hubby's  3 1/2 year journey that there really isn't much out there for financial help.  Our co-pay was 20% up to $7,500, yearly, until insurance kicked in and paid 100%.  There were also co-pays for prescriptions and then there is all the out of pocket stuff like Imodium, etc.  Cancer treatment is very expensive.  In his 3 1/2 year journey I estimate that we paid, out of pocket,  close to or above $50,000.00. 

Most hospitals (ours did) when you have a large bill will put you on a monthly payment plan.  Ours charged zero interest.  If what you can afford is $50.00 per month they will accept that, just so you continue to pay.  So, if the collection agency is for the hospital, call the hospital  directly, most will work with you.

If you can get on public assistance or are a politician then you will get everything paid for 100%.  Sorry, but that is a sore spot with me on so many levels. Anyway, good luck and hope you find something or someone to help but if the truth be told, there is not much out there.

Take care - Tina

jen2012
Posts: 1251
Joined: Aug 2012

We ran into a problem with those minimum payments because everyone charges separately..they don't just lump it into one hospital bill. In the last 20 mos we've had a baby...injury needing er visit x 2....I had mohs surgery on a mole...son was diagnosed with diabetes ...and of course all of my husbands procedures surgery chemo tests etc! Too many separate bills. I have found that everyone will take off 20% if you pay in full so ive been knocking them down like that with income tax returns etc.

johnsnowden's picture
johnsnowden
Posts: 20
Joined: May 2013

We have the Desert Cancer Foundation here, who have been wonderful with co-pays and outright payment (i am uninsred). perhaps there is a foundation in your area.

you should have or have access to an Oncology Social Worker, who works with the hospital, doctors or radiation team, and besides counseling and guidance they should also be very knowledgeable concerning charitable resources.

it's also true that most hospitals/cancer clinics allow payment plans as long as the bulk is already covered (insurance). and i agree, there is always so much publicity about fundraisers and such especially with the American Cancer Society yet i understand the bulk of contributions (after salaries and overhead) go towards cancer research, scientist, grants, etc. They do help patients a little, i got the 300 dollar gas card and they have solicited some hotel donations (i live far from treatment) but that seems to be about all they do.

maybe there are far too many patients. good luck, and don't worry if you have to end up owing them. nobody will blame you, it's not like a cable tv bill or anything.

LindaK.
Posts: 360
Joined: Apr 2013

Just talked to them.  The only thing they provide is rides.  We have our own cars.  They did give me the link to the Colon Cancer Alliance, Club Blue Note has a "grant" if you meet qualifications, which I guess they decide after you submit all your information:  http://ccalliance.org/bluenotefund/index.html  for anyone else who might be interested. 

Thanks for all the info everyone - as always, people on this board are so helpful.

 

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