Q. I am going through treatment and need help covering the costs of practical things, like nutritional drinks and medical supplies. Are there resources available?

A.

The cost of nutritional supplements as well as other supplies can be an added and unforeseen expense for many cancer patients.

For help with nutritional supplements, first check your insurance policy to learn whether these supplies are covered and under what circumstances. For example, Medicaid, Medicare and some private insurance will pay for nutritional support for patients that need feeding tubes for more than three months.

Other possible sources of support are patient assistance programs offered by the product manufacturers. For example, Abbott, the maker of the nutritional drink Ensure, has a patient assistance program. Abbott also provides more information about insurance coverage of nutritional supplies.

You can also call the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at 1-888-4PPA-NOW to find out about any other nutritional assistance programs.

Caregivers Marketplace is a consumer cash-back program that offers savings on name-brand health care products. Consumers can request cash back with each purchase of the eligible products.

You can also contact a social worker through your hospital to find out what local agencies might provide discounts or other cost savings on medical supplies.