The financial costs associated with cancer are often overwhelming. Even having health insurance doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to afford treatment. It’s best to start researching your options early in the process. This fact sheet lists various sources of financial assistance available to people with cancer. Check with each agency or organization to see if you qualify for help.

Government Assistance

There are a number of federal and state programs that provide financial benefits to individuals and families. These benefits, known as entitlements, are primarily set up for low-income households, older adults and the disabled. Each entitlement has eligibility requirements. There are also programs administered through state governments that can help with health care-related needs. Government assistance programs include:

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Information on public assistance and food stamps.

U.S. Administration on Aging

Benefits for older adults. Eldercare Locator finds resources in your community.

800-677-1116

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

800-633-4227

Social Security Administration

800-772-1213

Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs

Programs and services differ among drug manufacturers but may include:

  • Help with insurance reimbursement
  • Referrals to co-pay relief programs
  • Help with the application process
  • Discounted or free medications for patients who do not qualify for other assistance

To see if the drug company that makes your medication has a patient assistance program, check its website. You can also ask your doctor or use the Medicine Assistance Tool, which has a list of pharmaceutical programs and other resources for financial assistance. Needy Meds can also help with costs.

Medicine Assistance Tool

Needy Meds

800-503-6897

Nonprofit Programs for Co-Pay Relief

A number of nonprofit organizations provide help for expenses such as drug co payments, deductibles and other medical costs. These programs have their own eligibility rules and may cover only certain cancers. Contact each organization to learn more.

CancerCare® Co-Payment Assistance Foundation

866-55-COPAY (26729)

Good Days

877-968-7233

HealthWell Foundation

800-675-8416

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Co-Pay Assistance Program

877-557-2672

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

800-999-6673 203-744-0100

Patient Access Network Foundation

866-316-7263

Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program

866-512-3861

Cancer Organizations

CancerCare

800-813-HOPE (4673)

American Cancer Society

800-227-2345

Be the Match (National Marrow Donor Program)

888-999-6743

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

800-955-4572

Lymphoma Research Foundation

800-500-9976

Patient Advocate Foundation’s Colorectal CareLine

866-657-8634

Sarcoma Alliance

415-381-7236

Susan G. Komen Foundation

877-465-6636

General Organizations

United Way

Community Organizations To find local resources, check to see if there is a 211 information and referral service (www.211.org) in your area.

Edited by Victoria Puzo, LCSW