Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Paying for Cancer: Help for the Uninsured, Underinsured, and Insured Among Us

Cancer is expensive and this just adds to the stress and strain already in the life of the cancer patient and their family. There IS help available whether you are among the growing ranks of the uninsured or the under-insured, and there's also help for people with insurance. You will have to do your own paperwork, phone calls, follow up calls, jump through plenty of hoops and maybe overcome a few hurdles, but there is help and there is hope. You will have to prepare to be your own best advocate; no one else will be able to do this for you (probably). Get ready, get set, go!

Here are links to good, reputable resources and advice. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will get you started off on the right foot.

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/survivorship/uninsured.htm

http://cancer.about.com/lw/Health-Medicine/Conditions-and-diseases/Options-for-the-Uninsured-Person-with-Cancer.htm

http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ManagingInsuranceIssues/index

http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ManagingInsuranceIssues/HealthInsuranceandFinancialAssistancefortheCancerPatient/health-insurance-and-financial-assistance-toc

http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/UnderstandingFinancialandLegalMatters/index

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/medical-bill-payment-tips-1266.php

Cancer drugs are so expensive that many people fear not being able to pursue treatment. Many, if not most or all, drug manufacturing companies have programs available. Find out the company that manufactures your drug, go to their website and investigate what they offer. If you can't find what will help you, put your self-advocacy clothes on and pick up the phone. There will be a number you can call. Talk to someone and keep talking until you get help that you can afford and/or manage. Many drugs actually have their own info website which should also have assistance program info. Yervoy is an example.

Here's some help to get you started:

Yervoy is the new hot drug for melanoma:
http://www.yervoy.com/patient.aspx  (there's a tab at the top for info on paying for it)

GlaxoSmithKline
http://www.gskforyou.com/

Merck
http://www.merck.com/merckhelps/patientassistance/home.html

Pfizer
http://www.pfizerhelpfulanswers.com/pages/Find/findall.aspx

This link is your bonus for reading this page! It's a link to info about all the drugs used to fight any kind of cancer. You'll learn the common names, side effects, just about everything you could want to know...except the manufacturer, but there IS a wealth of info about the drugs that may prove useful:

http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/GuidetoCancerDrugs/index

Bottom line: cancer is an expensive disease to fight but there is help available. You may have to knock and kick on several doors, but persistence should yield a reward. It may not be what you hoped for and the amount you really need, but it may be a start and better than nothing. It may, on the other hand, be a tremendous blessing and provide substantial relief. 

Prayers and blessings. If this helps in any way then

I am grateful.