Coping With Co-Pays

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 8, 2013

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Question

I am concerned about the cost of treatments. I have Medicare, but I am responsible for a 20% co-pay for every chemo infusion, not to mention other pills I take. What can I do?

Answer

Christina Bach, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, Oncology Social Worker at Penn Medicine, responds:

Thanks for asking such an important question. You are right to be concerned about that 20% copay for your chemo infusions. You do have some options, and these options can be changed during open enrollment of healthcare plans (for instance, Medicare Open Enrollment occurs every year from sometime in October through early December). During this time, you can make changes and additions to your plans, including the purchase of a secondary or Medigap policy. For in-depth information about this, please see my blog, "Christina's Resource Round-Up" on OncoLink, which covers many of the different issues to keep in mind when thinking about making coverage changes.

Also, you may be eligible for copay assistance through several private copay foundations, including the Cancer Care Copay Foundation and The Chronic Disease Fund. These organizations provide substantial awards for those who meet financial and diagnostic criteria (up to $10,000 per year). Ask you social worker or navigator for more specific information about copay foundations and how to apply for these.