The cost of breast cancer treatment can quickly become a financial burden. You may not realize it, but you may get many bills for just one procedure. For example, you may get a bill from each department in the hospital involved with your surgery. This may mean different bills from the lab (pathology), anesthesiology, surgery and other departments. Even if your co-payment for a single bill is low, these costs add up. And, there are many out-of-pocket costs (such as transportation) that may add to this burden. If you need some help with these costs, don’t be afraid to ask. There are many financial resources for people with breast cancer.
The first place you can turn to for information on financial resources is a trusted health care provider, such as a physician, nurse or social workers. Most hospitals and treatment centers have financial counselors. They can help you with the details of your insurance paperwork and give you an estimate of the cost of your treatment. Financial counselors can also help you work out a payment plan for the costs you will have to cover. If you are unable to pay, some places may be willing to reduce or waive the costs if you ask. And, no matter your income, you may qualify for financial aid from federal, state or local programs. A financial counselor can help you learn about these programs.
Hospital discharge planners, patient relation offices, patient service offices, nurse navigators and patient navigators at hospitals or managed care organizations may also be able to provide information on resources and advice about financial matters. For questions about your insurance policy, state insurance agencies and insurance companies can be helpful.
Many state and national organizations provide information about financial assistance and insurance. Some of these are listed below along with resources to help with travel, lodging and medical items, including prescription drugs.
To learn more about the programs below and other helpful resources, call Susan G. Komen’s breast care helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636). When you call, you will speak with a trained and caring staff member who can help you navigate your way through all of the complex breast cancer information as well as help you find local resources.
A.M. Best Company Find insurance company ratings. www.ambest.com/
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) Provides information on choosing a health plan. www.ahcpr.gov/consumer/
America's Health Insurance Plans National directory of health insurance plans and information on types of coverage. www.ahip.org/
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Find detailed information on Medicare and other health insurance programs for people over 50. 888-OUR-AARP (888-687-2277) www.aarp.org/health
American Cancer Society - Taking Charge of Money Matters workshop Offers a series of booklets on financial topics for people living with cancer. 800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345) www.cancer.org
Department of Health and Human Services Learn about the Affordable Care Act (health care reform). www.healthcare.gov/
Medicare (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) Find information on the Medicare health insurance program, including prescription drug plans. www.medicare.gov
Medicaid Find your state's Medicaid toll-free hotline. www.medicaid.gov
National Association of Insurance Commissioners Find your state's insurance commissioner. www.naic.org/
National Cancer Legal Services Network (NCLSN) Find a directory of organizations that provide free legal help for people and families affected by cancer. www.nclsn.org
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship Publishes the booklets "Working It Out: Your Employment Rights as a Cancer Survivor" and "What Cancer Survivors Need to Know About Health Insurance." 877-NCCS-YES (877-622-7937) www.canceradvocacy.org
Patient Advocate Foundation Offers legal and advocacy help when disputing insurance claim denials and provides financial assistance information. 800-532-5274 www.patientadvocate.org
Patient Advocate Foundation - National Underinsured Resource Directory Offers an online tool and a smartphone app to help find local, state and national resources for people who are underinsured and looking for insurance coverage options or other types of financial assistance. 800-532-5274 www.patientadvocate.org/help4u.php
Cancer Resource Foundation Provides financial assistance for BRCA1/2 genetic testing for people who qualify. www.cancer1source.org/genetic-testing-programs
CancerCare – Co-payment Assistance Foundation Offers health insurance co-payment assistance to breast cancer patients undergoing some types of chemotherapy and targeted therapy. 866-55-COPAY (866-552-6729) www.cancercarecopay.org
CancerCare – Linking A.R.M.S.™ Provides limited financial assistance for some medications, medical equipment and lymphedema supplies. 800-813-HOPE (800-813-4673) http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information
Medicare (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) Find information on Medicare prescription drug plans. www.medicare.gov
Myriad Financial Assistance Program Provides financial assistance for BRCA1/2 genetic testing for people who qualify. https://ms360.myriad.com/genetic-testing/insurance/
NeedyMeds.com Provides information on how to find pharmaceutical manufacturer assistance programs. www.needymeds.com
Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation Provides financial assistance for prescription drug co-payments to people with metastatic breast cancer who qualify. www.panfoundation.org/
Patient Advocate Foundation – Co-Pay Relief Program Provides financial assistance for prescription drug co-payments to patients who qualify. 866-512-3861 www.copays.org
Patient Advocate Foundation –Financial Aid Fund Provides limited financial help for medical equipment, lymphedema care, transportation to and from treatment, child care and elder care during treatment, breast prosthesis and wigs. The Financial Aid Fund is a partnership between Susan G. Komen® and the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF). 800-532-5274 www.patientadvocate.org
Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) Offers low-cost and free prescription drug programs for those with limited income 888-4PPA-NOW (888-477-2669) www.pparx.org/
Social Security Administration Find your local social security office. www.ssa.gov/
Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (U.S. Department of Labor) Find information on federal laws requiring insurance coverage of breast reconstruction after mastectomy. www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/whcra.html
American Cancer Society – Road to Recovery Provides local transportation to and from cancer treatments. 800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345) www.cancer.org
CancerCare – AVONCares Program Provides limited financial assistance for transportation to and from cancer treatments. 800-813-HOPE (800-813-4673) http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information
CancerCare – Linking A.R.M.S.™ Provides limited financial assistance for transportation to and from cancer treatments. http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information
Patient Advocate Foundation – Financial Aid Fund Provides financial assistance for transportation to and from treatment. 800-532-5274 www.patientadvocate.org
Air Charity Network Offers air travel to treatment centers for cancer patients and their caregivers. 877-621-7177 www.aircharitynetwork.org
Corporate Angel Network Uses empty seats on corporate aircraft to help cancer patients reach treatment centers. 866-328-1313 www.corpangelnetwork.org
Lifeline Pilots Offers air travel to treatment centers for cancer patients and their caregivers. 800-822-7972 www.lifelinepilots.org/
Mercy Medical Airlift Offers air travel to treatment centers for cancer patients and their caregivers. 800-296-1217 www.mercymedical.org/
National Patient Travel Center Offers air travel to treatment centers for cancer patients and their caregivers. 800-296-1217 www.patienttravel.org
Raquel’s Wings for Life Offers air travel to treatment centers for cancer patients and their caregivers. 940-627-1050 www.raquelswingsforlife.com
American Cancer Society – Hope Lodge Provides lodging for families during cancer treatment. 800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345) www.cancer.org/
CancerCare – AVONCares Program Provides limited financial assistance for child care during treatment. http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information
CancerCare – Linking A.R.M.S.™ Provides limited financial assistance for child care during treatment. http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information
Patient Advocate Foundation –Financial Aid Fund Provides financial assistance for child care and elder care during treatment. 800-532-5274 www.patientadvocate.org
National Cancer Institute - Insurance Coverage and Clinical Trials Find information on insurance coverage of clinical trial costs. http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/learningabout/payingfor/insurance-coverage
1-877 GO KOMEN(1-877-465-6636)
Every two minutes, another case of breast cancer is diagnosed in the U.S. In the next two minutes, you can help give the gift of hope. Become a monthly donor to help us support research, treatment assistance, education and more.