If you or a loved one have lung cancer, you know that it is not only taxing emotionally but also financially. And it’s not just the high prices of medication that take a toll on your wallet, it’s the gas needed to fill your car for the multiple hour drive each week to the hospital or the time spent off work for appointments and treatment.
The #1 request on our HelpLine is for financial help. Although there is not much available on a national level, you can find wonderful help locally; it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. Here are our top six tips to keep in mind when seeking financial assistance after a lung cancer diagnosis.
- Get to Know Your Insurance: We know insurance can be daunting, but if you take the time, you may find they offer more than you think. First, check with your employer to see if they have a representative you can contact who can walk you through your plan. Otherwise, call the insurance company’s customer service 1-800 line and ask to speak to a representative (not just an automated recording).
- Make Friends with a Social Worker: If your cancer treatment and care team does not include a social worker, ask to be connected with one at the hospital. A hospital social worker is a wealth of information and can direct you to the best local financial resources. You may find that your hospital offers financial assistance, or a local organization (like Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation) may be your best option. Either way, the social worker will have answers.
- Keep track of assistance funds: It can be hard to keep up with national patient assistance funds, which often run of money. Use the PAN Foundation FundFinder to check which lung cancer funds are open and sign up for email or text message notifications to learn right away when assistance becomes available.
- Google Google Google: As you have probably found along your lung cancer journey, you must be your own advocate, but local organizations can help. For example the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina sometimes receives funding for patient “gas cards.” Search for your local organizations by googling “cancer financial assistance in [insert your county/town]”.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: Your community wants to help, but they might not know how. Websites like GoFundMe.com allow you or a loved one to create and promote a fundraiser for free, giving people an easy and tangible way to help.
- Other Avenues:
- Some of the large pharmaceutical companies that make the treatments offer financial assistance programs. If you are on a brand name drug, find out who manufactures it and give them a call to see if they offer any programs. You can also check out Needy Meds to search for discounts or copayment assistance programs by drug name or disease type.
- Easily search cancer resources with CancerCare’s A Helping Hand, a searchable, online database of financial and practical assistance available for people with cancer.
- If you need to travel for care, check out Nancy’s List for transportation and travel and Nancy’s List for lodging.
We are always here to help you navigate along your lung cancer journey. Please contact our support team at 1-800-298-2436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.