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 before a financial crisis develops. 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, the elderly, 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
Check phonebook for your local office
U.S. Administration on Aging
Benefits for older adults
(Eldercare Locator finds resources in your community)
Social Security Administration
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs
Programs and services offered 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
Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA)
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 check with the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA). PPA has a list of pharmaceutical programs and other resources for financial assistance.
In addition to needing help with managing the cost of medicines and treatment, people with cancer often need assistance with expenses like transportation, homecare and child care. A number of nonprofit organizations have useful programs or referral information to help with these and other practical needs.
American Cancer Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Lymphoma Research Foundation
National Marrow Donor Program
Patient Advocate Foundation’s Colorectal Careline
Check phonebook under “social service agencies.”
These include Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Family Services, and others. Check phonebook for listings.