The financial costs associated with cancer are often overwhelming. Even having health insurance doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to afford treatment. It’s best to start researching your options early in the process. This fact sheet lists various sources of financial assistance available to people with cancer. Check with each agency or organization to see if you qualify for help.
There are a number of federal and state programs that provide financial benefits to individuals and families. These benefits, known as entitlements, are primarily set up for low-income households, older adults and the disabled. Each entitlement has eligibility requirements. There are also programs administered through state governments that can help with health care-related needs. Government assistance programs include:
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Information on public assistance and food stamps.
Benefits for older adults. Eldercare Locator finds resources in your community.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Social Security Administration
Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs
Programs and services differ among drug manufacturers but may include:
- Help with insurance reimbursement
- Referrals to co-pay relief programs
- Help with the application process
- Discounted or free medications for patients who do not qualify for other assistance
To see if the drug company that makes your medication has a patient assistance program, check its website. You can also ask your doctor or use the Medicine Assistance Tool, which has a list of pharmaceutical programs and other resources for financial assistance. Needy Meds can also help with costs.
Nonprofit Programs for Co-Pay Relief
A number of nonprofit organizations provide help for expenses such as drug co payments, deductibles and other medical costs. These programs have their own eligibility rules and may cover only certain cancers. Contact each organization to learn more.
CancerCare® Co-Payment Assistance Foundation
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Co-Pay Assistance Program
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
Patient Access Network Foundation
Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program
Be the Match (National Marrow Donor Program)
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Patient Advocate Foundation’s Colorectal CareLine
Community Organizations To find local resources, check to see if there is a 211 information and referral service (www.211.org) in your area.
Edited by Victoria Puzo, LCSW