Online Books > Helping People Cope: A Guide For Families Facing Cancer
Help With Medical Or Hospital Expenses
You may find that you don't have enough insurance. Or you may be
temporarily unable to work or to work only part-time. Difficulties
with expenses can cause considerable concern, and this can make coping
with your illness seem overwhelming. People are often embarrassed to
ask for financial help, especially from the government. Government
services are financed by taxpayers, including your tax dollars before
you became sick. Your contributions may now help you get through a
difficult time. Take advantage of what you are entitled to by law.
Examples of Help You Can Receive
- A hospital financial counselor to help you establish a monthly
payment plan for hospital bills.
- Financial assistance for medications through the American Cancer
Society, Area Agency on Aging, or drug company medication programs.
You may also qualify for the PACE Card, a Department of Aging
prescription payment program for those who have a difficulty paying
- Medical Assistance to help pay doctors, hospital expenses, and
medications for people with limited incomes and assets (County Board
of Assistance, Income Maintenance Help Line).
- Funds to help with medication expenses for those with leukemia, Lymphoma, or Hodgkin's disease (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).
- Help with hospital and doctor bills and some supplies for those
who are eligible for vocational retraining and rehabilitation
services. (See Employment Rehabilitation)
- Social Security and Medicare benefits for people 65 or older.
Social Security could begin at age 62 if you choose (Social Security
- Disability income for workers under 65 who have been employed for
a predetermined time period and who are now disabled (Social Security
- Financial benefits and services to honorably discharged veterans
of any age (U.S. Veterans Administration, American Red Cross).
How Do You Find These Services?
- To obtain help with hospital expenses, contact the financial
counselor or business or credit office in the hospital. Also talk with
the hospital social worker, patient representative, or credit office
if you need more assistance.
- To obtain assistance with other expenses, contact the agency that
offers the services that best meet your needs. These agencies are
listed in the Blue Pages of your phone book and in the local resource
directory which accompanies this Guide.
Some of the agencies that provide financial help to pay for medical
services and living expenses if you are temporarily disabled are:
American Cancer Society (except for direct payment for treatments),
local office of Area Agency on Aging, County Board of Assistance,
local Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, local offices of the Social
Security Administration, regional office of the Veterans
Administration, and the county chapter of the American Red Cross.
You may also call the Income Maintenance Help Line (1-800-692-7462).
Ask your hospital social worker about which agencies in your area
provide financial assistance.
- If your medical bills begin to accumulate faster than you can pay
them, don't wait until a crisis occurs to do something about it.
Approach your creditors before they have to contact you. Creditors are
usually willing to work with you if you have a hardship.
- Be sure to inform the agency workers of all your current expenses
so they understand your financial situation.
- Keep track of all items relating to cancer, even transportation,
since Major Medical insurance may pay for expenses not covered by your
- Uncovered medical expenses may be deductible on your income taxes.
- If you need help filling out insurance or other medical forms, ask
the nurse at your doctor's office or the social worker at your
hospital or home-care agency for assistance. If they cannot help, they
may refer you to someone who does insurance-claim processing. That
person may help you for a fee.
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