Q. My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and she has to pay almost $500 in co-pays for her medicine. How can we get help?

A.

Unfortunately, having insurance doesn’t guarantee that patients will be able to afford their treatment. Even with insurance coverage, out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays for medications can add up very quickly. Your mother is not alone in struggling with these costs.

Sometimes, cancer drug manufacturers will offer patient assistance programs to financially assist people like your mother who are struggling. To find out if such a program exists for your mother, please contact the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at 1-888-477-2669.

In addition, there are organizations that offer co-pay relief for chemotherapy and cancer medications. Funding can vary and depends on the cancer type, so call before applying to confirm availability. One such program is the Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program, which provides direct financial support for co-pays to insured patients who financially and medically qualify. For more information call 1-866-512-3861 or download an application. You may also try contacting the Chronic Disease Fund at 1-877-968-7233.

And finally, you can search for financial help through a website created by the Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition.