Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I’ve been having trouble paying my co-pays. I am self-employed and with the downturn in the economy my business is way down. Where can I go to find some help?

A. Direct financial assistance for co-pays is limited, but it does exist. The following non-profit organizations provide help for expenses such as drug co-payments, deductibles, and other medical costs. Each program has its own eligibility requirements, so please contact them to learn more.

In addition, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance has a comprehensive database of companies that offer their medications at little or no cost to those who qualify.

Q. About six months ago, my five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and I had to leave work to take care of her. Now, I’m struggling financially and need help paying the bills. Where can I get help?

A. Children with cancer typically undergo an intense treatment schedule and their care can become a full-time job in itself for the parent or guardian. Unexpected expenses can range from uncovered treatment costs to transportation and child care, as well as those of daily living, which are especially difficult to meet when there is a loss of income. CancerCare, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the National Children’s Cancer Society, offer limited financial assistance for some treatment and treatment-related expenses for eligible families. The American Childhood Cancers Organization also provides a listing of possible resources.

Ask the social worker at your child’s treatment center for information on organizations in your community that assist children with serious illnesses. In addition, many large treatment centers have special funds for children to help defray the cost of treatment and related costs. Make sure you inquire about whether your treatment center has such a fund, and how you might qualify. Finding help with the expenses of daily living is more challenging. A possible resource includes the 211 referral line of your local United Way which provides links to community programs that may offer financial assistance or practical help. You can also try negotiating payment plans for your monthly bills with your utility company, phone provider and other creditors, who may also offer assistance programs to people in need.

Q. I have metastatic breast cancer. I have to make a long drive once a month and stay over for about two nights for treatment. Is there any help you give for transportation and/or lodging costs?

A. CancerCare offers limited assistance for transportation, home care and child care for people who qualify. Limited funds are also available to assist with certain oral, pain, and anti-nausea medications, lymphedema supplies and durable medical equipment. Please call us at 800-813-HOPE (4673) to apply.

American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program provides transportation to and from treatment for people who have cancer and either do not have available transportation or are unable to drive themselves. Volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their cars so that patients can receive the treatments they need. Call 800-ACS-2345 to find out if Road to Recovery is available in your community.

Joe’s House is an online database listing thousands of places to stay across the country near hospitals and treatment centers that offer a discount for traveling patients and their loved ones. Your local United Way may know of resources that offer financial assistance. To find your local office, please visit www.joeshouse.org or call 651-291-0211 or 211.

Q. My dad has cancer and he is currently at home. He has no insurance, but Medicaid is pending. We’re trying to get hospice or some support. What can I do?

A. Hospice is paid for through the Medicare or Medicaid Hospice Benefit and by most private insurers. If a person does not have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, or a private insurance company, hospice will work with the family to make sure needed services are provided. In order to receive hospice services, your father’s doctor will need to make a referral to a local hospice provider. You may also contact a local hospice to find out what steps you should take.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) offers information and resources about end-of-life and hospice through its Caring Connections website. The Caregiver Resource Directory also can provide you with extensive information.

It’s important that you continue to follow-up with his Medicaid application, as benefits will be retroactive to the date when he applied and can be used to pay any medical bills that may be incurred during the application period.