Without health insurance, illness can make a precarious financial situation go from bad to disastrous. A cancer diagnosis is understandably traumatic for you and your family members. The additional burdens caused by a lack of health insurance coverage can contribute to the belief that medically necessary services will not be provided. Although they take more time, legwork and negotiation to secure, reduced-cost and free resources exist for cancer treatment and support.
Government and nonprofit organizations provide most of these services. One excellent resource is the National Cancer Institute fact sheet. Chances are that this site will either answer most of your questions or provide you with links to those answers.
The Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania sponsors a site called OncoLink that provides a wide range of cancer-related resources including legal and financial information for patients. It also sponsors the university’s EmergingMed’s Cancer Clinical Trials Matching Service.
Similarly, the National Cancer Institute provides you with the means to search for more than 6,000 clinical trials conducted throughout America. You are asked to identify your type of cancer, stage or subtype, your location, and the types of trials you are interested in.
To better serve the medical needs of past and present members of the armed forces, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Cancer Institute have partnered to help provide clinical cancer trials.
Depending on the specific cancer diagnosis, some patients may qualify as candidates for bone marrow transplants or blood stem cell transplants. The National Marrow Donor Program has the Marrow Foundation Patient Assistance Program as its fundraising affiliate to help eligible patients pay for post-transplant expenses, and to conduct searches within its registry.
Transportation and housing for those in treatment and recovery also can add significant expenses to a limited budget. The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge provides free, temporary housing for patients who receive treatment out-of-town. There are now 27 lodges available throughout America; the American Cancer Society can locate additional housing accommodations as needed.
Travel needs can be met by the society’s Road to Recovery services. This program provides patients with transportation to and from their cancer treatments. For long-distance travel, the National Patient Travel Center has set up a helpline to assist patients in arranging reduced-cost airfares and special air transportation.
Both acute and chronic medical conditions will require the use of medications. Fortunately, there are ways some qualified individuals may be able to obtain prescription drugs for reduced cost or at no cost at all. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is a free referral service designed to increase the awareness of available patient assistance programs. The partnership serves as the access point for more than 475 programs; more than 180 are offered by pharmaceutical companies with access to more than 2,500 medications. Enrollment is based on income and will vary from state to state. Additional services include listings of discount drug card plans from independent companies.
Understand that there are many, many more services available to you beyond the ones detailed above. Careful research and planning can help ease the physical, emotional and financial strains felt by patients and their families alike. For group health insurance California you can click here. You get financial support with health insurance as you fight cancer and other illness.