Helping Your Loved One with Practical Matters

In addition to helping with medical and emotional concerns, caregivers often help by taking on many practical tasks. Some day-to-day activities caregivers can do include running errands, pitching in with household chores, preparing meals and helping with child care.

Because cancer can also place a tremendous strain on a family’s finances, caregivers are often left with the task of managing financial issues, too. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help.

Here are some tips for finding financial help for costs related to cancer:

Review your loved one’s insurance policies to understand what’s covered. Your insurance company can assign a case manager who can explain what services and treatments the plan does and doesn’t cover and answer any questions. Case managers work for insurance or other types of agencies. They help clients gain access to resources and services. He or she can also help explain any out-of-network benefits the policy may offer, such as medical services from doctors not on your insurance plan.

Understand what your loved one is entitled to. Some types of aid for people with cancer are required by law. These programs are called entitlements—government programs that give financial and other aid to people in certain groups such as those with cancer. A hospital or community social worker can direct you to the governmental agencies that oversee these programs.

Ask for help. If you need help with hospital bills, speak to a financial counselor in the hospital’s business office. He or she can help work out a monthly payment plan. If your loved one expects to run out of money, or has already, talk to his or her creditors. Many landlords, utilities and mortgage companies are willing to work out a payment plan before a crisis develops. Reaching out for help early on is most helpful.

Apply for financial help. For many people, expensive cancer medicines pose a financial challenge. Fortunately, there are many programs to help qualified individuals get medications for free or at a low cost. For more information, contact the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, listed among the resources. CancerCare also provides financial help. We provide limited grants for cancer-related costs such as transportation and child care. We also provide referrals to other organizations that can provide assistance. Call us at 800-813-HOPE (4673) to learn more.