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Story of no Insurance

Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

Got a Relative w/no insurance, or job, and in his mid-50's without much money. Been going to a "free clinic" for the last couple years, and has been told he has an acid reflux problem. Lost some 38lbs over that time, and swallowing has gradually gotten harder. So, they finally put tubes down his nose and throat, which led to Tuesday's Biopsy, and Friday's Onco visit! Yeah.

Drs. now say they think he's got C in his throat and upper-esophagus, and has a lump somewhere in his throat area. Stage-4.

I advised him to explore government aid channels to get treatment funded, in hopes he can get some quality care and treatment. As spread-out as his C sounds to be, and with no money to pay for a PS/CT, or any treatment- any opinions on what he might be able to do about getting good treatment? And, shouldn't he get a $4K PS/CT before they start Chemo and Rads, or do surgery/dissection? Seems to me they should, if he is to be treated properly.

Your opinions are always most welcome.


Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

I'm useless on this issue. I lost my job in February - loss of insurance is a great fear (I'm fine - I'll find another job before my eligibility for my current coverage runs out). I'm hoping you can find some help. Would his current condition make him eligible for Medicare or a similar program? Fingers crossed.

tonyanddenise's picture
Posts: 70
Joined: Jun 2010

I am in Columbus, Ohio. last week while in rad. waiting spoke to a gentleman that had been seen and under tx @ Grant Hospital in Columbus. Not sure the extent of his CA. He told me he had signed up for "some" type of program / assistance. His treatment is in the Hobbs Oncology Center. Same as mine. He told me his cost him nothing.My insurance is actually covering many things such as Caphasol, nutrition delivered to my door complete with a nutritionist to demonstrate and today anti nasuea patches/ trans dermal(sancuscopatch). I receive all bills and they are paid by ins. I am fast approaching $90,000.00 since diagnosis in late may. Again this gentleman said his was free.
There must be a program that can help this friend of yours. My ENT wrote a script note for treatment of 6 months minimum. That could also help. Good luck, I hope this opens a door for you.

Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2010

hi, i am sorry that your relative is experiencing this difficult time.. i was told about a website needymeds.org, pparx.org and i also came across one other website called christiansovercomingcancer.com.. some of the websites will offer assistance with medication for those without insurance... i believe the needymeds.org also re-routes you to different websites for programs who can assist with treatments.. my dad is being treated at Rush in Chicago.. they offer charity for medical bills, they also have a woman who works for ACS out of Rush, the hospital your relative is being treated at may offer some sort of assistance..

best of luck and please keep us posted..

Jan Trinks's picture
Jan Trinks
Posts: 477
Joined: Apr 2009


Your relative's situation sounds a lot like the brother of a friend of mine. He lives in FL; was diagnosed last year with esophogeal cancer and had spread. He, too, had no job or insurance. Somehow, his ex-wife went to work on getting him the insurance he needed I think through Medicaid and I know he got SSI before his SSD kicked in. Sorry, I don't know what all was involved but I know he has gotten his treatments, meds, scans, etc. Hope this helps and best of luck to your relative and prayers are coming his way.

Jan and Charlie Trinks

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2010

The first thing your relative needs is a clear diagnosis of what type of cancer he has from the biopsy they're taking. If its taken by a Surgeon/ENT, they will decide if its operable. If it is, they will want to remove it. They will determine if they need a PET/CT, but I would say that they generally won't need or want these scans. They're cutters, they like to cut it out until the pathologist, who is hopefully sanding by in the OR, tells him that its all gone and they have clear margins.

If its inoperable or they, hopefully, are able to remove it all, the Dr needs to refer him over to a Medical Oncologist and a Radiation Oncologist. They will determine a treatment plan for chemo and/or radiation.

If he has lost all that weight, and is currently underweight, he needs to put it back on to survive the treatment. With the GN tube they put in, the Dr or Nutritionist will recommend Ensure or Boost or something like that. Don't waist your time. Go to Walmart and buy Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder. 52g of pure preteen! Use 4 scoops to 2 quarts a day. Fill it with whole milk/half and half/heavy whipping cream. Make it as fatty as his stomach and liver can handle. Put rich ice cream in it and a bunch of chocolate syrup. The higher the calories the better! I also like to put 4 scoops of instant coffee in it, because it helps with the fatigue. He will put the weight and mussel on fast and he'll fell better. This concoction has kept me alive for over a year.

For insurance coverage, he needs to contact his State Health and Human Services Department and he needs to apply for everything that they offer. Hopefully, his state has some sort of Medicaid program for adults. If he doesn't have/doesn't qualify for Medicaid, does he have a local collage/university/med school? These institutions will often offer free or inexpensive coverage because they need to train new Drs. He also needs to file for SSI and SSDI. He might qualify for Medicare and or disability benefits under these programs.

Hope this all helps. Good luck and good health.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009

Kent, I was in the exact same situation as your relative. I had been laid off and was working through a temp agency when I was diagnosed in May '09 with lung and laryngeal cancer. As soon as the hospital where I was to be treated found out I had no insurance their Financial Assistance department contacted me and helped me with all the paperwork necessary to apply for SSD and Medicaid. They filed all of the paperwork electronically and I was approved for both SSD and Medicaid before my 1st chemo in June. The Medicaid was retroactive and picked up my medical bills for all of the testing and doctors appointments, this included a biopsy, PET scan and CT scan.

I received my first SSD check 6 months later which changed my income status and I am now on what Medicaid calls a spend down or deductible so I am responsible for part of the bills but it is still a blessing when you have no insurance. All of my doctors have payment plans that I have taken advantage of and send them a predetermined payment each month.

If the facility where your relative is being treated has a Financial Assistance department tell him to contact them immediately as there is a lot of paperwork he will need in order to apply. If this is not an option tell him to contact his local Social Security Office and the Health and Human Services department also. There is more out there that is available than the average person knows about until a disaster like this strikes someone you know.

I wish the best for you and your relative. Please let us know how he makes out.

Take care and stay strong,

MarineE5's picture
Posts: 907
Joined: Dec 2005

I have no information, but just wanted to say. All the above replies are why I like to come to this site and read the posts. People helping other people.

My Best to Each and Every One of You

Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

for all the replies, and advice. Got the websites, and the possibilities of a game plan to give him for the money angle. As I was covered by insurance, I got no clue about other ways to get the money.

Still waiting to hear what the Oncologist told him. Haven't seen or talked to him since the day of my Sister's funeral, last October, and am thinking about making the 50-plus mile drive over to see him tomorrow, or soon. Might be able to help, being in shoes similar to the ones he now is in awhile back.

Thanks again.


delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

Above all means, if you have the opportunity, go see him. And if you do, tell him we're pulling for him.

--Jim in Delaware

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