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What Are the Different Types of Financial Aid for Cancer Patients?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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Financial aid for cancer patients can include direct government assistance, programs sponsored by the government, private charities, and benefits provided through pharmaceutical companies. Patient eligibility depends on factors like the type and stage of cancer, patient income, type of insurance coverage, and region where the patient lives. Paying for cancer care can be extremely expensive. Patients should talk to their doctors after a diagnosis about payment assistance options. They may be eligible even if they think they are not, and it can be useful to start applying before the need for assistance is apparent.

Many governments provide benefits to disabled members of the public as well as people with certain conditions who do not qualify as disabled and are too young to get health-care assistance associated with retirement. Cancer patients can talk to social workers to find out which, if any, of these programs they qualify for. They may be able to get on government assistance to help pay for care as well as to cover lost income. In some cases, financial aid for cancer patients is available through the government even if a patient has an existing insurance plan.

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Governments also sponsor regional treatment programs for low income patients. A hospital may offer public assistance with cancer care through help from the government and private organizations. Financial aid for cancer patients in this setting can pay for the costs of care, including medications, surgery, and hospitalization. Patients may also be able to get a living allowance or help with living expenses.

Private charities are another option for financial aid for cancer patients. Some groups run hospitals and treatment facilities and provide free or low cost care. Others offer grants to patients in need of assistance to help pay for the costs of care. Most offer help with a specific type of cancer, like breast cancer, or focus on helping children. Patients can ask their doctors for information about programs they might qualify for. This may require travel to visit a facility maintained by the program for treatment.

Pharmaceutical companies also offer financial aid for cancer patients. Patients may qualify for free or low cost drugs as well as compassionate use medications. Their doctors can help them apply for drug assistance programs. This may be very valuable for patients with inadequate insurance coverage or who want to try a treatment that their insurance policy does not regularly approve. Some companies may also offer financial assistance in addition to discounts on drugs, to help patients who have trouble paying for surgery and other necessities associated with cancer treatment.

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