Lung cancer financial assistance can help over 390,000 Americans who are currently living with lung cancer. It is estimated that there are 224,210 new cases of diagnosis of lung cancer in the United States. This represents 13 percent of all new cases of cancers in the US.
According to the National Institutes of Health in 2010, the cost of lung cancer alone accounts for $12.1 billion, which includes lost of productivity and direct medical costs.
Newly diagnosed lung cancer patients can expect to pay an average of $16,910 for health care expenses. However, for more complex cases treatment can easily cost over $50,000. Therefore, the demand for financial assistance options are increasing.
Lung cancer can have high medical costs associated with treatment and care. The American Society of Clinical Oncology in a 2004 study found that the average out of pocket cost for lung cancer patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is from $323 and $8,011 per month.
Another study by BioMed Central found that the total cost of healthcare for lung cancer patients could be as high as $125,000. This study examined experienced from 4068 lung cancer patients with a range of hospital admissions, inpatient days, physician office visits and hospital outpatients visits.
The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) also found that the average hospital stay per night can amount to $10,000. For patients who require medical attention, this can increase your medical bills literally overnight.
Non-paid carers can hold a large financial burden in order to care for a loved one with lung cancer. In fact, cost projections from the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute predict that the annual cost of care for a loved one with lung cancer is over $60,000.
New drugs and treatments for lung cancer have also been found to be one of the leading causes why medical expenses can accumulate for lung cancer patients. These newer lung cancer treatments can cost $10,000 per month, according to American Cancer Society.
As lung cancer can impact so many families across the US, there are a range of lung cancer financial assistance options that are available to help you and your family overcome the financial burden of disease.
6 Ideas For Free Lung Cancer Financial Assistance
1. Transportation and traveling Assistance Schemes
Seeking treatment for lung cancer patients can mean multiple visits to the hospital, doctor’s office, pharmacies and even to specialists that are far to visit.
Although patients typically account for the cost of the actual treatment, another large portion of medical expenses come from the travel to and from health providers. These costs are typically unaccounted for on your medical bill and are in fact mostly out of pocket costs that cannot be reimbursed.
Transportation and traveling assistance schemes have been put in place to help offload the financial out of pocket costs that can come from seeking treatment. This is particularly useful for patients who live in remote locations or patients who require a specialist outside of their area or state.
National Patient Travel Center, for example providers national assistance for lung cancer patients to help locate options for free transportation. You can find information about long-distance medical air transportation, receive referrals to charities and other programs that can assist you and be connected into a national charitable medical air transportation network. This, like many other resources are free of charge to use.
2. Legal Advice
It’s a common experience for individuals under going financial stress due to an illness in the family to have to deal with health insurance providers, debt collectors or even the hospital billing department. Medical debt can lead to patients being unable to access their treatment or medication until the debt is resolved.
Getting help from a registered legal liaison means you will never have to work directly with insurers, employers and/or creditors. This gives relief from the family and allows patients to focus on their health and well-being.
Legal advice can benefit patients and their families for many reasons. For patients with health insurance, there are limits, exceptions and conditions placed on every treatment or service. As a result, families can expect paying large out of pocket or gap costs on top of the regular monthly installments for the health cover itself. This makes it difficult for families to overcome the burden of illness, placing more financial strain on the patient as well as the whole family.
Helping you negotiate health insurance covers that may or may not cover the full amount of your medical expenses. Seeking legal advice can help guard you from health insurance companies taking advantage of you.
Knowing your rights and what you are legally entitled to can make a big difference in your medical expenses. You may seek legal advice to find out what hospitals and other health providers are obligated to provide you.
Free legal advice is also suitable for families who have a loved one in stage 4 of cancer or in a critical condition. Legal aid can be used to help a family create a loved one’s will. This can be critical in giving legal rights the family or partner the ability to claim financial aid from a health insurer in the near future for funeral costs.
One example of a free legal aid service that lung cancer patients are able to use is called Patient Advocate Foundation’s Patient Services. Patient Advocate Foundation’s Patient Services has a range of assistance services including arbitration, mediation and negotiation to settle issues with access to care, medical debt, and job retention related to their illness.
3. Social Network Support
Lung cancer financial assistance can come in all shapes and forms. It is easy to overlook your social network as a means of financial support and assistance when you are diagnosed with lung cancer. However, for someone who is undergoing treatment or recovery from lung cancer, this can be a great way to get emotional as well as financial support.
Connecting to your social network is simple and is free. If you have access to the internet via your phone, laptop or computer at home, there are no added cost to you to start connecting to your family and friends. There are also many places where you are able to access free internet. Examples can be at your local library and community centers.
Creating a free online medical fundraiser for you or someone you love can help cover those hefty medical expenses. Sharing the fundraiser online to your family and friends is easy. Signing up and creating a fundraiser is done online. There are no costs or hidden fees on selected fundraising platforms. If you already have Facebook, Twitter and other social networking accounts, all you need to do is share the URL link to the fundraiser online. Alternatively you can reach your network by sending emails, and even making free Skype calls to loved ones.
4. Drug Assistance Programs
According to NerdWallet’s 2013 report, there are over 25 million Americans who choose to forgo prescription drugs and medication because they cannot afford them.
Therefore, there are many lung cancer financial assistance programs that provide drug assistance for free. These drug assistance programs exist to help patients to receive their medication for free without having to comprise their health over money.
Programs are generally run by the government or by a large pharmaceutical companies. Non-rpfoti organizations may also have drug assistance programs in place, or can provide referrals for further assistance. There are of course restrictions on what types of drugs will be available as well as the eligibility to receive the drugs.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance is one example of a program that can assist lung cancer patients without prescription drug coverage. This can be ideal for patients with limited or restricted health insurance cover, where excess and out of pocket costs are high. In addition, excluded drugs and medication on health insurance cover, which is a common problem can be resolved by using drug assistance programs.
5. Co-pay Assistance
Treatment and medication can be expensive, ongoing medical expenses that many families in the US are unable to cover. Co-pay assistance programs are set in place in order to help patients, like lung cancer patients with financial assistance to help cover the cost of their prescription drug, treatment and medication.
Generally, co-pay assistance programs work through a reimbursement system. This system works by allowing patients to get coverage for the out of pocket cost or the excess cost from a health insurance cover. It is like receiving drugs at a discounted rate.
In order to get on a program, patients may need to be referred by a doctor or health provider. Patients will be asked to fill in forms and hand in documentation. Upon approval, you will receive a card. This card must be handed to your local pharmacy or drug provider upon receiving medication.
Co-pay assistance programs are available from a range of bodies. These include non-profit organizations, government and particular pharmaceutical companies. CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation (CCAF) is an example of a non-profit organization that exist to help cancer patients including patients with lung cancer through a co-payment system. CCAF can be used for chemotherapy and targeted treatment drugs.
6. Debt Counseling
The management of your finances during and after treatment for lung cancer can help you and your family overcome any difficulties with medical debt. Unfortunately, many families still struggle with paying high medical bills on top of general living expenses. This is because they may be experiencing a loss of salary or income, limited savings set aside for medical emergencies or perhaps have unexpected medical costs that were not accounted for.
Free debt counseling from a certified financial counselor can help families be able to start practicing new ways of money management but also find expenses that can be easily cut out in order to pay for your medical treatment.
Counselors will evaluate your current financial situation. This is through an assessment of any household costs, medical expenses, income, benefits that you receive and your health insurance cover. From here, they will be able to provide you an outline of your monthly or weekly budget as well as suggestions of how to overcome medical debt.
Lutheran Social Services for example, provides free confidential budget and debt counseling. Although there are fees with ongoing help, generally getting one off advice and assistance is free of cost. This service is provided online, over the phone or in person.
1) PAN Now Offering Financial Assistance to Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients: https://www.panfoundation.org/news-article-list/251-pan-now-offering-financial-assistance-to-non-small-cell-lung-cancer-patients
2) Financial Assistance: http://www.lungcancer.org/find_support/financial
3) Resources for Lung Cancer Patients and Caregivers: http://www.lung.org/associations/states/colorado/lung-disease/lung-cancer-resources.html
4) Financial Support: http://www.managecancer.org/resources/financial-support.aspx
5) Lung cancer treatment costs, including patient responsibility, by stage of disease and treatment modality, 1992–2003: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150743/
6) Average Out of Pocket Cost: http://www.aflac.com/individuals/realcost/source/#lung_cancer
7) Cancer Prevalence and Cost of Care Projections: http://costprojections.cancer.gov/annual.costs.html
8) BioMed Central; Healthcare costs in patients with metastatic lung cancer receiving chemotherapy: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/11/305/
9) Managing the Costs of Your Cancer Treatment: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/findingandpayingfortreatment/managinginsuranceissues/the-cost-of-cancer-treatment
10) The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project- Statistical Brief 146, Costs for Hospital Stays in the United States: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb146.jsp
11) American Cancer Society’s Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures, 2012-2013: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-033876.pdf
12) Lung Cancer Fact Sheet: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/lung-cancer/resources/facts-figures/lung-cancer-fact-sheet.html
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