Finding Financial Assistance Programs After a Cancer Diagnosis

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Topics include: Living Well

The price of cancer treatments can be astronomical. Is there financial support out there for patients who are struggling with the treatment cost? Cynthia Shimizu and Katie Brown discuss the financial assistance programs that are available to patients who need the help. They also share how there are philanthropic organizations that might cover partial cost of treatment as well. There are many resources out there ready to help, and the care team is good at directing their patients to those resources. 

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

The newer drugs, a lot of drugs, cancer therapy period is expensive.

I know the drug I take for leukemia is $8,000 a month. Some of these other drugs we’re talking about are more. Hopefully, you have insurance that’s going to cover it. But if there is something like this, now, we’re talking about, David just said it, maybe where there might be some benefit, a leading expert says this we believe may help you. But it wasn’t what the drug was approved for.  And oh my God, the insurance company is saying that’s nice.

So first of all, about assistance programs, generally, and about these financial battles because people worry about having the financial wherewithal to fight, if you will, Tony, their cancer. 

Cynthia Shimizu:               

I used to be much more intimately involved in that process finding funding for patients. It became such a complex situation throughout the cancer center, we actually formed a whole mini department to handle just exactly these issues.

So I’m not up on the latest, but I can tell you there are many philanthropic organizations across the country that can help either to help with co-pays. Your insurance my cover a drug, but it’s that co-pay that gets you, because it’s so high and so expensive.  Pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs that are very generous in their eligibility guidelines.

That may be the solution for you and your situation.  There are people that can give you guidance to put you in the right direction depending on what your particular medications are and how best to get them covered. That’s another one of the benefits of coming to an academic cancer center where you have much more types of support for various kinds of situations—really, an extension of the primary team.

There are so many people kind of working behind the scenes maybe that are just as important to help you get what you want and what you need.

Katie Brown:     

So on the LUNGevity website, we have a caregiver resource center and a survivor resource center. And within those sections of our website, we have resources with financial assistance information. There’s the Patient Advocacy Foundation.  There are the lists of the pharmaceutical companies of the drugs that you may be taking.

Most of them have co-pay assistance, or they have a patient access portal that you can contact that will help you with your drugs.  And then there are organizations like Good Days by CDF that help with prescription co-pays and things like that—very easy to apply for something like that. And then also, there are certain financial navigators with these organizations that you can connect with, and they can sort of walk you through that process.

And then Live Strong.org, they also have a navigator there that will help you with financial. They’ve got a great database with a lot of information.

Andrew Schorr:                  

So again, common theme—something is weighing on you, finance, emotional issues, side effects, are you getting the right treatment? There are people to ask.  So if you keep it bottled up inside, you don’t get the help. So you need to talk.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on March 30, 2016