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bigman4christ's picture
bigman4christ
Posts: 87
Joined: Oct 2012

Anyone know of a good organization that can help with medical bills?  I looked up Patientresource.com and they have a lot of organizations on there, but i am not sure were to start looking.  so if anyone has any idea of a good one please let me know what your experince has been with them or what you heard about them.

 

thanks Zach

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 3330
Joined: Jan 2010

When looking for help for the costs for my sister's situation we were not able to find a single source.

Her onc office has a financial support person who not only helped get a grant for onc charges but also get 6  very expensive chemo treatments for her from the drug maker.

The American Cancer Society offered assistance with either rides to medical appointments or gas cards.  For the ladies they also offer free wigs and a Look Good/Feel Good program.

Much assistance out there is also financial based (i.e.based on your income).  Many use the Federal Poverty level or a multiple of it to determine if financial aid can be given.

I found that talking to each dr/group/institution requesting payments was a good place to start.  Some will know of organizations that can help.  Some will forgive or discount their services.  Some will point you to a credit source.

Hope something in all this helps,

Marie who loves kitties

PatchAdams
Posts: 271
Joined: Nov 2011

I have great insurance, but my yearly deductible is quite high, then add in the 20% to 10% and then the office co-pays.  In 4 1/2 years I've been able to pay part of each years amount before I got sent to collection. Already, this year, I owe just under $2,000 and have paid over $1,000 out of pocket.  That's while NOT in treatment! 

I found help thru the local hospitals for my surgeries.  We qualified for Financial Aid after my two cancer surgeries and my gall bladder surgery.  They wrote off the amounts the insurance didn't pay.  We were well within the federal 'poverty level'.

Wish I had better news.......  but other than asking your church to hold fund raisers, Chick-fil-A will have a 'Big Man for Christ' night, etc.  you're pretty much on your own. 

 

Patch

Maxiecat's picture
Maxiecat
Posts: 544
Joined: Jul 2012

Setting up a payment plan with the oncologist's office really helped to take a bit of the stress off.  We still owe close to $3,000 for out of pocket...but it should be paid off hopefully bu the end of the year before the clock resets.  I guess this is our new reality...to have these bills every year for the foreseeable future.  I am trying to stay in network for everything.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

-can you qualify for Medicaid?

-what about SSD (Social Security Disability)?  With a stage 4 dx, you basically get to take cuts to the front of the line.  Took me two months to be qualified.  It's not much but it helps.

-your church...you could talk to your minister about this if you have a church you go to on a regular basis.

-you could apply to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.  This would mean switching your care to Seattle, but this might be an option if they decide to help.  Info about applying for aid is at http://www.seattlecca.org/financial-assistance-resources.cfm.

-this website lists a bunch of organizations that offer aid.  I would check out the medical payments category and the colon/colorectal category:

http://blochcancer.org/resources/big-list-of-cancer-resources/

-private fundraising: something like Giveforward might be a way for people who know you, as well as those who don't but might like to help, to pitch in.  I would use whatever contacts I had in the virtual world to get the word out if I took this route.

If I can think of anything else, I'll post more tomorrow.  This is just off the top of my head.  AA

ETA if you can get someone else, a close friend or family member, to do some of this work for you, that would probably be best.  This is pretty overwhelming for the person going through tx.

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

WellnessComunity

Shannon's Charity

 

Best Always,  mike

coloCan
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009
bigman4christ's picture
bigman4christ
Posts: 87
Joined: Oct 2012

Thank you all for your suggestions, it sounds like i will just have to start contacting them all and try to apply for each one.  I didnt know that i could apply for Medicaid, i thought that was just for people with no insurance already but i will have to look into that as well.  I just got a bill in the mail and says that i owe them around $16,000 and i just dont have that kind of money, heck i dont even have $160.  this is really starting to stress me out.  I will be looking into all of these options thanks everyone!

zach

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

you could talk to them about a payment plan, or see if they have a program to help cover patient's bills.  Some hospitals do have this, I believe.  And to be frank, you could also consider medical bankruptcy at some point.  Lots of pros and cons here, obviously, but the fact is that you are young and can get back on your feet even from a bankruptcy in the future.  You could talk to Columbia Legal Services, which is in Seattle and works with low-income people on a variety of issues.  I know they do some health care stuff, but am not sure if they cover bancruptcy specifically.  Wouldn't surprise me if they did, however, as something like 70% of all bankruptcies are due to medical bills.   I'ts really a crime that we don't have universal health care. 

http://www.columbialegal.org/index.php

And are you still working?  If you're not, you should apply asap for SSD.  It's easy to do, and you can start the process online.  This would give you a monthly stipend, as well as access to Medicare.

 

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Kathryn_in_MN
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

If you are stage IV and have stopped working you are fast-tracked for SSDI and will be approved without trouble.  If you are a lower stage or still working this is not the case.   They will go back retroactive - they pay up to one year back.  When I finally applied, I was approved immediately (applied on Thursday, approved on Monday) and they approved me back to September 2010.  They only pay one year back - not all the way back to my approval. 

 

SSDI does NOT give you access to Medicare.  Not directly.  Once you qualify for SSDI, if you are still on it after TWO years, then you qualify for Medicare.  If they go retroactive, the fartherst back it counts is one year.  So when I was approved, I just had one more year to wait for Medicare.  I will qualify next February.

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Kathryn_in_MN
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

There are many programs out there, but your income has to be low enough.  Then each of them only pay very small amounts.  You need to be willing to fill out a lot of paperwork and submit copies of income tax returns and bank statements and sometimes pay stubs.  If you are serious about applying for help everywhere you can, figure that you have a full time job for a week ahead of you.

 

ACS gives a $50 gas card in my area.  Check with the patient navigator in your area and see what ACS offers.

 

Chris 4 Life has grants.  CCA Blue Note Fund has grants.  Many organizations only give grants quarterly or annually and when the $$ run out, no more grants.  There may be local grants.  Here we have the Angel Foundation.  They helped me out a few years ago with grocery cards and gas cards.  Ask the patient navigator at your oncology office about any local programs.

 

Here is one link that has many options listed.  http://fightcolorectalcancer.org/awareness/coping/financial/out-of-pocket_expenses

 

Be aware that NONE of these is going to dig you out of a big medical debt.  They are all small amounts, but every bit helps.  The best thing you can do is apply with your hospital and oncologist for any community program they have to help, and ask to be put on a payment plan that you can afford.  The reality of living with cancer, even with insurance, is financial strain.  I've hit maximum out of pocket 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and I'm within dollars for 2013 - I'll hit that next Friday for chemo...  And we have no max out of pocket for prescriptions.  We've cut our budget down to bare bones the last 3 years and split our land and are selling off two lots just to get by.  You learn to get creative and to let the non essentials go.  We have no home phone anymore.  Our entertainment budget is now just Netflix (we used to bowl on two leagues and go out with friends and out to dinner and shows, etc.).  We drive 1999 vehicles with high milage, but no car payments.  I've always coupon shopped and continue to do that.  Nothing is purchased without a coupon and/or sale unless it is an emergency.

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