The financial burden associated with cancer treatment is reaching new heights. In the heat of making decisions, patients and their families may drastically deplete their finances to reap the advantage a new drug may offer.
According to the National Cancer Institute ([NCI], 2016), 22%–64% of patients with cancer worry about their financial situation. High out-of-pocket costs, loss of work-related income, and accumulated debts are some of the situational factors leading to financial distress. Some people may actively seek out financial resources, whereas others remain stoic in the face of financial ruin. The good news is that there are various copay assistance programs and foundations that can help patients who meet each organization’s qualifications.
- Cancer Care (www.cancercare.org) can help with travels costs, homecare, and childcare for patients with specific cancers.
- Good Days (www.mygooddays.org) offers disease-specific copay assistance for certain cancer diagnoses.
- Needy Meds (www.needymeds.org) is a searchable website that offers links to patient assistance programs based on diagnosis or medication. Drug discount cards and rebates are also offered on the website.
- Patient Access Network (www.panfoundation.org) provides grants to help patients meet financial obligations. Patients must be insured with a policy that covers the current treatment.
- Patient Advocate Foundation (http://patientadvocate.org) has a copay relief program and provides assistance through the Medicare part D gap coverage as well as Medicaid spend downs for qualifying patients.
- RxAssist (http://rxassist.org) is a searchable website listing patient assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. Drug discount cards and what pharmacies offer the lowest overall cost of a prescription medication is another feature of RxAssist.
Helping patients deal with the financial burdens associated with cancer treatment and other illnesses is very rewarding. Oncology nurses can give patients reputable and reliable financial resources to help them receive the treatments they need and reduce some of the financial toxicity of cancer care.
High out-of-pocket costs, .loss of work-related income, and accumulated debts are some of the situational factors leading to financial distress.