Underinsured and Help With Treatment Costs

Last Modified: May 7, 2010


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I have Medicare as my primary insurer but no supplemental coverage. I recently completed treatment. I am responsible for 20 percent of the cost of treatment and or hospitalization. What are my options for help with the bills I have been receiving?


Tracy Lautenbach, MSW, LCSW, Social Worker in the Radiation Oncology Department at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Many patients are underinsured and are responsible for 10, 20 and even 30 percent of their treatment costs or hospital bills. Check with the hospitals Patient Accounting department. Often there is a Charity Program available through the hospital. An application would need to be completed and proof of income and financial documents provided. A patient may be eligible to receive a partial or sometimes complete write off of the bill.

Also, if patient is over 65 they may apply at their local county assistance office for Medicaid/or Medical Assistance.
The Patient Advocate Foundation does have a Co Pay Relief program. There are certain disease sites listed on their website that the PAF can offer assistance for.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series, Legal & Financial Challenges Facing People with Cancer. View the entire transcript here.