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 five tips to keep in mind when seeking financial assistance during your lung cancer journey.
- 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.
- 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 or YouCaring.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.
- Easily search cancer resources with CancerCare’s A Helping Hand, a searchable, online database of financial and practical assistance available for people with cancer.
Sometimes costs aren’t the only challenge when it comes to lung cancer. You may be faced with issues related to your legal rights, benefits and employment. There are organizations that specialize in this type of help.
Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC): The CLRC provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to cancer survivors, caregivers, health care professionals, employers and others coping with cancer. Visit their website or call their toll-free Telephone Assistance Line 1-866-THE-CLRC (843-2572)
Patient Advocate Foundation offers patients assistance with specific issues they are facing with their insurer, employer and/or creditor regarding insurance, job retention and/or debt crisis matters relative to their diagnosis of life threatening or debilitating diseases. They can be reached through their website or calling 1-800-532-5274.
Cancer and Careers is dedicated to empowering and educating people with cancer to thrive in their workplace by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events.