Being diagnosed with a brain tumor takes a toll on a patient and the family, not only physically and emotionally, but also financially. Below, you will find information about various sources of financial assistance that may help alleviate some of the stress of this difficult time.
SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI)
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE (SSDI)
Contact your local Social Security Office to determine if you qualify for SSI or SSDI. The medical requirements and disability determination process are the same under both programs. Eligibility for SSDI is based on prior work under Social Security, while SSI is based on financial need.
Hill-Burton Funds are federal grants that allow hospitals and nursing homes to provide low-cost or no-cost medical care to those meeting income guidelines. Contact Hill-Burton to receive a listing of hospitals or nursing homes participating in the program. Funding and sites are limited.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES' BUREAU OF PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
Provides information on public programs for the uninsured.
PATIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS (PAP's)
Most major pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs offering free or low cost medication to those who cannot afford their prescriptions.
PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION
Provides guidelines and listings of PAP's.Your physician must complete the medication request.
PARTNERSHIP FOR PRESCRIPTION ASSISTANCE
Offers a single point of access to more than 475 public, state and private patient assistance programs, including more than 180 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.
MEDICARE RIGHTS CENTER
Provides information on how to locate prescription assistance or discount programs.
MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAM
The Medicare Prescription Drug program gives patients a choice of prescription plans that offer various types of coverage. You may be able to get extra help to pay for the premiums, annual deductibles and co-payments related to the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage program. However, you must be enrolled in the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage program to get this extra help.
DISCOUNTED PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAMS
Discounted prescription drugs are available at discount stores across the country. Check with the pharmacy currently filling your prescription(s) to see if they have discounted prescription drugs. If you are not using generic drugs, ask your doctor if any generic drugs are an appropriate choice for your prescription.
WAL-MART PHARMACY SITE
Wal-Mart offers a 90 day precription supply for just $10. $4 generics offered through the Wal-Mart program included multiple strengths of dexamethasone (a steroid), prednisone (a steroid), carbamazapine (an antiepileptic drug), and several antidepressants.
WEGMAN'S FOOD MARKETS
Some of the programs offer 30-day supplies, some are 90-day supplies, but each is offered at discounted rates. Their program includes a 90-day supply for $11.99.
The foundation helps to bridge the gap by providing financial assistance to eligible patients to cover certain out-of-pocket costs related to copayments, deductibles and insurance premiums.
PATIENT ADVOCATE FOUNDATION
Their Co-Pay Relief Program offers co-payment assistance to patients with brain cancer. Program accepts calls beginning the first of each month until funds are depleted. Providers can also apply on behalf of their patients online.
-Assistance programs are offered by many gas, electric, water, and phone companies.
-If you feel you may have difficulty paying your monthly bills, contact the company before your balance becomes too large. Companies are more amenable to working out a payment plan with those willing to work with them.
-Many states have regulations that prohibit companies from turning off utilities; your doctor or social worker may need to write letters describing why the service(s) are medically necessary. The regulations do not diminish your responsibility for paying the bills, but may allow you more time or lower monthly payments.
-In an emergency situation, check with local help lines and social service agencies as some provide one-time emergency help with utility bills.
LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP)
Helps low-income households meet their home energy needs.
For state and local contact information, please access: http://liheap.ncat.org/profiles/energyhelp.htm
FREE GAS USA, INC.
A nationwide non-profit assistance program for low-income people having trouble paying for gasoline. Applications can be made for gas grant cards that range in value from $50 to $1200, depending on need and circumstances. In order to be eligible for a gas card a person’s yearly income must be at or below the “very low limit” category as defined by the US Department of HUD. An income calculator is available at the website. Applications are only available online, must be substantiated by a human service agency and applicants must be residents of the United States.
THE CANCER FUND OF AMERICA
Provides for non-prescription medical needs such as nutritional supplements or incontinence supplies. Items available vary as the group receives donated products from companies. Patients or families members can call and be placed in their database for specific needs.
GENERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH FAMILY AND CHILDREN’S AGENCIES
Agencies provide help for medical equipment, supplies, prescriptions and transportation to medical care.
Provides grants to individuals with a cancer diagnosis who are currently in college or on a leave of absence from an undergraduate university. Priority will be given to individuals that incur substantial medical bills.
BRENDA MEHLING CANCER FUND
The BMCF supports patients 18-40 currently undergoing cancer treatment with services to meet daily needs. It provides home health care services, co-payments required by many health plans for medical care, temporary housing, and other expenses for those temporarily unable to pay bills like rent, insurance, and food.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES, USA
Some local offices have limited funding available to provide emergency financial assistance.
Offer a variety of financial assistance programs, call for eligibility requirements.
FRIENDS OF MAN
Friends of Man is an all volunteer charity to help people with basic or special needs that cannot be provided elsewhere. They will assist with prostheses, wheelchairs, medical equipment, mobility equipment, hearing aids and orthopedic shoes. Application must be filled out by a healthcare professional.
LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA SOCIETY CO-PAY ASSISTANCE FUND
Provides co-pay assistance funds for patients with CNS Lymphoma, up to $5,000 per calendar year. This program offers assistance towards the cost of private health insurance premiums and co-pays as well as Medicare co-pays and premiums. As well as costs related to prescription medications.
MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT
Provides financial help for those individuals in the UK only who are having financial difficulty as a result of their illness.
Mission4Maureen is dedicated to providing financial assistance to families who are burdened with the staggering cost of brain cancer treatment. Financial aid is available for medical bills as well as child care, housing payments, utility bills, transportation, medication and other areas of assistance. An application with supporting documentation is required.
Will provide assistance, up to $500.00 for those who are able to demonstrate a financial need.
NO WOODEN NICKELS
Provides assistance to cancer patients in the following areas: medical expenses, transportation assistance, utilities, meals, home care, child care and special clothing needs.
RISE ABOVE IT
RAI is focused on providing financial assistance to young adult patients battling cancer. Patients need to have been diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 39 and must be undergoing or actively pursuing clinical trial treatment options. Requests may be made for medical expenses, housing costs, travel expenses as well as food, clothing and utility bills.
Local units can offer emergency financial assistance to families.
SURVIVING AND MOVING FORWARD:
THE SAMFUND FOR YOUNG ADULT SURVIVORS OF CANCER
Provide various grants and scholarships to young adult survivors, ages 18-35, to help supplement the money that they and their families have lost during treatment, and pay for specific transitional issues, such as education, fertility options, living, job search and lingering medical expenses.
-Meals on Wheels coordinates thousands of programs throughout the United States dedicated to delivering meals to those who are homebound. Some programs require a small donation. Each program determines eligibility. For a referral to the Meals on Wheels serving your area, contact the national Eldercare office at 800-677-1116.
-To locate additional food program options including congregate meal programs, contact MealCall at www.MealCall.org or and search their database for programs in your area. MealCall offers databases for both the United States as well as Canada.
-Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States. Participants can purchase groceries at a reduced cost through one of their host sites. There are currently sites in 32 different states. Visit their website at www.angelfoodministries.com or call 877-366-3646 to see if there is a program near you.
PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN
CANCER RECOVERY PROGRAM
The Children’s Project provides gift bags, camp scholarships and limited emergency funding to pediatric oncology patients under the age of 18, in the United States.
CATASTROPHIC ILLNESS IN CHILDREN RELIEF FUND
Provides financial assistance to families who have a disabled child through the age of 21 generally to reimburse medical or equipment costs.
CLAYTON DABNEY FOUNDATION FOR KIDS WITH CANCER
Provides gifts, last wishes and financial assistance to families which will facilitate quality of family life and create everlasting memories. Child must be considered terminal, under the age of 21 and be referred by a healthcare professional. Cap per family is usually $2,000.
FIRST HAND FOUNDATION
First Hand Foundation assists individual children who have health related needs and no financial resources to cover these expenses.
FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER
Family must be referred by a healthcare professional and payments go directly to the vendor. There is currently a $500 limit per family.
Provides nonmedical financial assistance to children, up to the age of 18 at the time of diagnosis, afflicted with brain tumor and currently undergoing medical treatment. Requests must be submitted by a social worker.
JAKE OWEN RABORN FOUNDATION
Provides financial assistance to children diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
JESICA’S HOPE CHEST
Jesica's Hope Chest is dedicated to helping critically ill children and their families with costs beyond what is normally covered by private insurance policies and/or government medical assistance programs. They provide funds for such things as transportation and housing costs during treatment. JHC can also help supplement family income when a parent is unable to work due to a child's illness.
JUSTIN SCOTT FOSTER FOUNDATION
Provides financial assistance to the families that are in financial crisis due to childhood cancer through their Family Emergency Financial Aid Program.
KELLY ANN DOLAN MEMORIAL FUND
Provides financial assistance to families of terminally, critically and chronically ill children. Referral must come from a healthcare worker. Child must reside in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware.
Supports the needs of children with cancer and their families who are seeking alternative methods of healing. The foundation also disperses funds to patients for treatment needs and to the families for their personal needs.
NATIONAL CHILDREN’S CANCER SOCIETY
Provides financial and in-kind assistance to children with cancer.
NICKI LEACH FOUNDATION
Provides financial assistance to children and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 diagnosed with a life threatening, malignant medical condition. Helps with the costs of items they normally would not ask for but would love to receive, and provides a momentary diversion from the reality of living with cancer. Funding may help with car expenses, clothing, hair or makeup as well as for the purchase of a camera, computer or special trip.
ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL
Offers treatment protocols for pediatric brain tumors. All patients accepted are treated without regard to the family’s ability to pay. Referral must be made through a physician.
UNITED HEALTHCARE CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION
Offers financial assistance to cover medical services beyond what insurance will cover or if service is not covered by the policy at all. Children are eligible up to the age of 17, who are US citizens and are currently covered under a commercial health insurance policy. Generally assistance must be requested before services are obtained and funds will generally be paid directly to the facility. Grants up to $5,000 per year, with a lifetime cap of $7,500.
CLEANING FOR A REASON
This non-profit offers free professional housecleaning services to improve the lives of women undergoing treatment for cancer. Provides once a month cleaning for four months. Currently available in approximately 40 states and Canada.
NATIONAL FOUNDATION OF DENTISTRY FOR THE HANDICAPPED
This organization offers a Donated Dental Services (DDS) program. DDS tends to the dental needs of the disabled, elderly or medically compromised individuals who cannot afford the necessary dental treatment. Their website offers contact information for each state to help you locate a participating program in your area.
NEW ENGLAND SERVE
Offers a publication entitled, Paying the Bills, which offers tips for families on financing healthcare for their children with special needs. It is available by calling or is downloadable at their website.
Website offers information on selling life insurance policies, reverse mortgages, COBRA, and HIPAA. They will review your individual case at no charge, to see which, if any, of these options is the best financial choice in your situation.
PATIENT ADVOCATE FOUNDATION
Website offers a state by state directory of information for patients seeking financial relief for a broad range of needs including housing, utilities, food, transportation to medical treatment, and children's resources. Click on Resources, then Publications and finally, The National Financial Resources Guidebook for Patients, to search this directory.
VIATICAL SETTLEMENT COMPANIES
Viatical companies purchase a patient's life insurance policy at a discounted rate, providing funds for the patient to use in any way they wish. The seller, in turn, signs over the policy to the viatical company. In general, any life insurance policy - group or individual - can be sold. The rate of return and eligibility criteria varies with each company, so carefully consider the offers of several companies. Tax implications and/or the effect of a viatical settlement on assistance programs should also be explored. A free brochure “Viatical Settlements: A Guide for People with Terminal Illnesses” can be obtained free by calling the Federal Trade Commission at 202-326-2222 or www.ftc.gov.