How to Pay for Cancer Treatment When You have No Insurance
Financial Help for Cancer Patients without Insurance: There may be more resources out there than you realize, and the worst thing you can do is not look for them. She felt especially bad for a cancer victim last year who was in her early 40s. She didn’t have insurance and was working, and then stopped working because she became ill. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in March of 2013, and she wanted to wait until she had insurance to get access to care, but she never did get insurance because she was too weak to work.
Months later, the woman learned about the LBJ Hospital Oncology Service, which was practically in her backyard. She established eligibility in November but wasn’t treated by or her staff. She wound up in hospice care and died soon after. So if you have cancer but aren’t insured yet, or you are insured but still need financial assistance, don’t assume there isn’t help — and don’t wait until your financial picture clears up to look for it.
Among Huber’s favorite nonprofits that help cancer patients is CancerCare, an organization that has been providing free counseling and support groups since 1944 to people over the phone, online and in person — and one of the major points of discussion is the financial challenges of cancer.
If nothing else, call 877-336-7287, the number for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing in Lewiston, Maine. Anyone in any location can call, says Mary Dempsey, the center’s assistant director and sister of the star of the ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy.” The center, founded in 2008, was inspired by Dempsey’s mother, Amanda, who has a rare form of ovarian cancer. It provides free support, education, and integrative medicine to anyone affected by cancer.
You may live nowhere near Maine, but if you don’t know what services are in your area, Mary Dempsey says a financial counselor at the Dempsey Center may be able to guide you to a service or organization in your area.
Getting financial assistance to help you fight cancer is, unfortunately, like buying a house or car or applying for a loan. You’ll need to prove that your finances are what you say they are which means gathering paycheck stubs, tax documentation and anything else relating to your income. You’ll also likely need written documentation of your cancer diagnosis.
Tell everyone in a position to help that you’re in need. Nobody is saying you have to beg for money on Facebook or set up a crowd funding page for donations, although those are valid options that many people understandably take. But certainly talk to people who are in a position to help you, like your patient navigator at the hospital or its social worker, Huber suggests.
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