Listed below are Government agencies, organizations, and programs that are designed to provide assistance for cancer patients and their families. However, resources provided by individual organizations vary, and it is important to check with a specific group to determine if financial aid is currently available. Organizations that provide publications in Spanish or have Spanish-speaking staff have been identified. This fact sheet is divided into four sections: Cancer Treatment, Practical Needs, Other Resources, and International Resources.
Hill-Burton is a program through which hospitals receive construction and modernization funds from the Federal Government. Hospitals that receive Hill-Burton funds are required by law to provide a reasonable volume of services to people who cannot afford to pay for their hospitalization and make their services available to all residents in the facility’s area. Information about Hill-Burton facilities is available by calling the toll-free number or visiting the Web site shown below. A brochure about the program is available in Spanish.
1–800–638–0742 (Maryland residents call 1–800–492–0359)
Web site: http://www.hrsa.gov/hillburton/hillburtonfacilities.htm
- Medicaid (Medical Assistance), a jointly funded, Federal-State health insurance program for people who need financial assistance for medical expenses, is coordinated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Although the Federal Government establishes general guidelines for the program, Medicaid program requirements are established by each state. Medicaid coverage includes part-time nursing, home care aide services, and medical supplies and equipment.
Information about coverage is available from local state welfare offices, state health departments, state social services agencies, or the state Medicaid office. Check the local telephone directory for the number to call. Information about specific state contacts is also available by searching the CMS.gov Contacts Database at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/apps/contacts on the Internet (select State Health Departments as the Organization Type). Spanish-speaking staff are available in some offices.
Telephone: 1–877–267–2323 Web site:
The Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act provides, in most states, Medicaid coverage for treatment to women who have been screened for and diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer, including precancerous conditions, through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. For more information about eligibility and contacts for this program, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000” Web page, which is located at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/legislation/law106-354.htm on the Internet.
- Medicare is a Federal health insurance program also administered by the CMS. Eligible individuals include those who are 65 or older, people of any age with permanent kidney failure, and disabled people under age 65. Medicare is divided into two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A pays for hospital care, home health care, hospice care, and care in Medicare-certified nursing facilities. Part B covers medically necessary services, including diagnostic studies, physicians’ services, durable home medical equipment, and ambulance transportation; Part B also covers screening exams for several types of cancer. To receive information on eligibility, explanations of coverage, and related publications, call Medicare at the number listed below or visit their Web site. Some publications are available in Spanish. Spanish-speaking staff are available.
- The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a Federal-State partnership that offers low-cost or free health insurance coverage to uninsured infants, children, and teens. Callers will be referred to the program in their state for further information about what the program covers, who is eligible, and the minimum qualifications. In most states, uninsured children age 18 and younger whose families meet the income requirement are eligible. For a list of health insurance coverage and eligibility by state, go to http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/states.asp on the Internet.
- The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Cancer Program ensures that users of the veterans health care system have easy access to high quality cancer prevention, detection, and treatment services. Eligible veterans and their dependents may receive cancer treatment at a Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center. Treatment for a service-connected condition is provided, and treatment for other conditions may be available based on the veteran’s financial need. Veterans who are disabled from military service can receive home care services from the VA, but these services can only be provided by VA hospitals. The VHA Cancer Program Web site offers links to cancer facts, information about care, a list of VHA-designated comprehensive cancer centers, and the VA’s national cancer strategy. Some publications are available in Spanish. Spanish-speaking staff are available in some offices.
1–877–222–8387 (1–877–222–VETS) (health care benefits)
1–888–492–7844 (mammography helpline)
- CancerCare is a national nonprofit agency that offers free support, information, financial assistance, and practical help to people with cancer and their loved ones. Financial assistance is given in the form of limited grants for certain treatment expenses. CancerCare also provides limited grants for home care, childcare, and transportation costs to men, women, and children in active cancer treatment. Services are provided by oncology social workers and are available in person, over the telephone, and through the agency’s Web site. CancerCare’s reach also extends to professionals—providing education, information, and assistance. A section of the CancerCare Web site and some publications are available in Spanish, and staff can respond to calls and e-mails in Spanish.
CancerCare has also partnered with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to create the Linking A.R.M.S. program, which provides limited financial assistance for hormonal and oral chemotherapy, pain and antinausea medication, lymphedema supplies, and prostheses for women with breast cancer.
The CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation is affiliated with CancerCare. The Foundation provides co-payment assistance for patients who have been prescribed chemotherapy but are unable to afford the out-of-pocket costs or co-payments required by their insurer or Medicaid.
- The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) offers information and financial aid to patients in significant financial need who have leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, or multiple myeloma. The LLS’s “Patient Financial Aid” Web page provides more information about the types of service available, application forms, and eligibility requirements at http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=4603 on the Internet.
1–877–557–2672 (Copay Assistance Program)
- The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) offers financial assistance through its Marrow Foundation® Patient Assistance Program (the fund-raising partner of the NMDP). The Patient Assistance Program helps patients pay for searching the NMDP Registry and/or for some post-transplant costs. Applications for Patient Assistance Program funds must be submitted by an NMDP transplant center. Eligible patients may ask their transplant center coordinator to apply for one or both programs (search assistance and/or transplant support assistance).
Telephone: 1–888–999–6743 (Office of Patient Advocacy) Web site:
- NeedyMeds is a Web-based information resource for people who need assistance paying for health care. NeedyMeds has information on patient assistance programs that provide free or low-cost medicine to people who are uninsured or underinsured. NeedyMeds does not supply medications or financial assistance but helps people find programs that provide these services. This resource also offers information on other assistance programs, such as discount drug cards, disease-based assistance (programs that help with costs associated with specific diseases), and free or low-cost clinics.
- The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) provides education, legal counseling, and referrals to cancer patients and survivors concerning managed care, insurance, financial issues, job discrimination, and debt crisis matters. The PAF also conducts outreach to African American and Hispanic/Latino American populations.
Telephone: 1–800–532–5274 Web site: http://www.patientadvocate.org
The Colorectal CareLine is designed to provide assistance to patients with colorectal cancer. It offers financial aid through the Financial Aid Fund for those diagnosed with colorectal cancer. For more information about the Colorectal CareLine, visit http://www.colorectalcareline.org/ or call 1–866–657–8634.
- The Co-Pay Relief Program provides limited payment assistance for medicine to insured patients who financially and medically qualify. For more information about the Co-Pay Relief Program, visit http://www.copays.org or call 1–866–512–3861.
Patient Assistance Programs are offered by some pharmaceutical manufacturers to help pay for medications. To learn whether a specific drug might be available at reduced cost through such a program, talk with a physician or a medical social worker or visit the drug manufacturer’s Web site. Most pharmaceutical companies will have a section titled “patient assistance programs” on their Web site.
In addition to cancer treatments, many cancer patients need assistance paying for transportation to and from medical appointments and basic living expenses such as food and housing. Listed below are organizations dedicated to helping cancer patients and their families during and after the patient’s treatment.
- Eldercare Locator is a referral service provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Eldercare Locator information specialists will link callers with state and area agencies on aging for information and referral to local agencies that provide a wide array of senior services. This service is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern time.
Telephone: 1–800–677–1116 Web site: http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx
- GovBenefits.gov is the official benefits Web site of the U.S. Government, with information on over 1,000 benefit and assistance programs. The Web site is maintained through a partnership of 10 Federal agencies and is designed to help users find Government benefit and assistance programs for which they may be eligible. The Web site features diverse benefit programs such as disability and financial assistance, insurance, and health care/living assistance. Users may complete a questionnaire on the Web site that identifies Government benefits for which they may be eligible, along with information about how the user can apply.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the Government agency that oversees Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. Social Security provides monthly income for eligible retired persons, surviving spouses and family members, and the disabled. More information about these and other SSA programs is available by calling the toll-free number listed below. Spanish-speaking staff are available. Additional contact information for the SSA is available at http://www.ssa.gov/reach.htm on the Internet.
TTY: 1–800–325–0778 Web site: http://www.ssa.gov/
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is administered by the SSA and supplements Social Security payments for aged, blind, and disabled people with little or no income. It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Information on eligibility, coverage, and how to file a claim is available from the SSA. The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool is available at http://connections.govbenefits.gov/ssa_en.portal on the Internet.
The SSA Compassionate Allowances initiative allows Social Security to target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that can be obtained quickly. Information on the initiative and a list of qualifying conditions are available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances on the Internet.
- The National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), which was formed by the merger of the National Brain Tumor Foundation and the Brain Tumor Society, provides financial assistance to patients through its Financial Assistance Program. This program assists brain tumor patients with treatment-related expenses such as medication copays, transportation to treatment, home health care and home adaptations (related to a brain tumor diagnosis), and childcare. Financial assistance applications are reviewed on a monthly basis, and grants range from $100 to $500. All applicants are eligible to receive up to two grants, but must wait 6 months before applying for the second grant.
Web site: http://www.braintumor.org
- The Lymphoma Research Foundation (Patient Services) offers a patient aid grant program, which provides up to $250 for “quality of life” expenses, including travel and transportation, temporary lodging, childcare, home care, cosmetic aids, medical devices, and hygiene products. In addition, uninsured or underinsured applicants can indicate on their application and discuss with the Program Coordinator if they have accumulated medical debts. Funds are available to reimburse health care providers for patients’ hospital or physician bills that insurance will not reimburse.
Web site: http://www.lymphoma.org
- The American Cancer Society (ACS) offers programs that help cancer patients, family members, and friends cope with the treatment decisions and emotional challenges they face. To get information about these programs, call the national ACS office, or find a local ACS office by typing your location into the search boxes on the “My Local ACS Office” Web page at http://www.cancer.org/asp/search/mla/mla_global.asp?navToScreen=mla_0 on the Internet. Some materials are published in Spanish. Spanish-speaking staff are available.
The Health Insurance Assistance Service (HIAS/ACS) aids cancer patients who have lost or are in danger of losing their health care coverage, along with identifying policy solutions to help others in similar situations. The service connects cancer patients who call the ACS cancer information number with health insurance specialists who work to address their needs.
Hope Lodge, a temporary housing program supported by ACS, provides free, temporary housing facilities for cancer patients who are undergoing treatment. For more information about this program, or to find locations of Hope Lodges, call the ACS’s toll-free number above or visit the Hope Lodge Web page at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/SHR/content/SHR_2.1_x_Hope_Lodge.asp on the Internet.
The Road to Recovery is an ACS service program that provides transportation for cancer patients to their treatments and home again. Transportation is provided according to the needs and available resources in the community and can be arranged by calling the toll-free number or by contacting the local ACS office.
The ACS offers Taking Charge of Money Matters, a workshop for people with cancer and their loved ones about financial concerns that may arise during or after cancer treatment, regardless of the person’s health insurance coverage. The session provides an opportunity to discuss financial matters with guest speakers who are knowledgeable about financial planning. More information about this workshop is available on the ACS Web page at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/SHR/content/SHR_2.1_x_Taking_Charge_of_Money_Matters.asp on the Internet.
The ACS's "tlc" Tender Loving Care® publication contains helpful articles and information, including products for women coping with cancer or any cancer treatment that causes hair loss. Products include wigs, hairpieces, breast forms, prostheses, bras, hats, turbans, swimwear, and helpful accessories at the lowest possible prices. The publication strives to help women facing cancer treatment cope with the appearance-related side effects of cancer. To request a copy of “tlc,” call 1–800–850–9445, or visit “tlc” at http://www.tlcdirect.org on the Internet.
- CancerCare operates the AVONCares Program for Medically Underserved Women, in partnership with the Avon Foundation. This program provides financial assistance to low-income, under- and uninsured, underserved women throughout the country who need supportive services (transportation, childcare, and home care) related to the treatment of breast and gynecologic cancers.
Telephone: 1–800–813–4673 (1–800–813–HOPE) Web site: http://www.cancercare.org
- The LIVESTRONG™ SurvivorCare partnership between the Lance Armstrong Foundation, CancerCare, and the Patient Advocate Foundation provides financial assistance to cancer survivors. For patients who are 6 months post-treatment with no evidence of disease, limited financial assistance is available for transportation to follow-up appointments, medical copays, cancer-related medications, and neuropsychological evaluation.
Telephone: 1– 866–235–7205 or 1–866–673–7205 Web site: http://www.livestrong.org/survivorcare
- The National Patient Travel Helpline provides information about all forms of charitable, long-distance medical air transportation and provides referrals to all appropriate sources of help available in the national charitable medical air transportation network.
Telephone: 1–800–296–1217 Web site: http://www.patienttravel.org/
- Ronald McDonald Houses, supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities, provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. Ronald McDonald Houses are temporary residences near the medical facility, where family members can sleep, eat, relax, and find support from other families in similar situations. In return, families are asked to make a donation ranging on average from $5 to $20 per day, but if that isn’t possible, their stay is free. To search for a Ronald McDonald House location, go to http://www.rmhc.org/who-we-are/chapter-search/ on the Internet.
Telephone: 630–623–7048 Web site: http://www.rmhc.org
In addition to the Government-sponsored programs and organizations already listed, these general resources may also be helpful:
Some nonprofit community hospitals are able to provide care for patients in need of financial assistance. Other hospitals have indigent or charity care programs funded by state and local governments. For information about these programs, contact a hospital social worker, who will be able to explain these types of programs. Another type of assistance may be offered through your local health department. The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Information Service may be able to provide information about local programs by phone at 1–800–4–CANCER. The NCI is a component of the National Institutes of Health.
State and local social services agencies can provide help with food, housing, prescription drugs, transportation, and other medical expenses for those who are not eligible for other programs. Information can be obtained by contacting your state or local agency; this number is found in the local telephone directory.
Community voluntary agencies and service organizations such as the United Way of America, Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Social Services, and Catholic Charities may offer help. These organizations are listed in your local phone directory. Some churches and synagogues may provide financial help or services to their members.
The Candlelighters® Childhood Cancer Foundation (CCCF) is a nonprofit organization that provides information, peer support, and advocacy through publications, an information clearinghouse, and a network of local support groups. The CCCF Web site contains a list of organizations to which eligible families can apply for financial assistance. This list is available at http://www.candlelighters.org/financialassistance.stm on the Internet. In addition, some local CCCF affiliates offer financial assistance.
NCI is the principal cancer research organization in the United States and has limited information about financial resources for people living outside this country. Patients and their families are strongly encouraged to speak with their doctor, medical social worker, or the business office of their hospital or clinic about health care costs. Cancer patients and their families can also inquire about Government-sponsored programs and services supported by volunteer organizations in their country. There are a great many organizations and facilities that provide assistance to people with cancer. Cancer information services are available in many countries to provide information and answer questions about cancer; they may also be able to help locate financial assistance close to where you live. A list of these cancer information services is available on the International Cancer Information Service Group’s (ICISG) Web site at http://www.icisg.org/meet_memberslist.htm on the Internet or may be requested by writing to the NCI Public Inquiries Office, Cancer Information Service, Room 3036A, 6116 Executive Boulevard, MSC 8322, Bethesda, MD 20892–8322, USA. The ICISG is an independent international organization composed of cancer information services. Their mission is to provide high-quality cancer information services and resources to those concerned about, or affected by, cancer throughout the world.
The International Union Against Cancer (UICC) is another resource for people living outside the United States. The UICC consists of international cancer-related organizations devoted to the worldwide fight against cancer. UICC membership includes research facilities and treatment centers, and in some countries, ministries of health. Other members include volunteer cancer leagues, associations, and societies. These organizations serve as resources for the public and may have helpful information about a variety of topics, including financial assistance. To find a resource in or near your country, you can search the UICC’s Membership Directory at http://www.uicc.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14330&Itemid=29 on the Internet or contact the UICC at:
International Union Against Cancer (UICC)
62 route de Frontenex
Telephone: + 41 22 809 18 11 Web site: http://www.uicc.org
Some people living outside the United States may wish to have their cancer treatment in this country and require financial assistance to do so. Many facilities in the United States treat international cancer patients. These facilities may also provide support services, such as language interpretation, assistance with travel, and guidance in finding accommodations near the treatment facility for patients and their families. They might also be aware of resources that provide financial assistance to international patients.
If you live outside the United States and would like to obtain cancer treatment in this country, you should contact cancer treatment facilities directly to find out whether they have an international patient office. The NCI-Designated Cancer Centers database provides contact information for NCI-designated cancer centers throughout the United States. This database is located at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/NCI/cancer-centers on the Internet. Users can select all cancer centers or search by location, type of cancer center, or cancer center name.
For additional information about the process and requirements involved when traveling to the United States for treatment, you can review the “Finding a Treatment Facility for Patients Living Outside the United States” section of the NCI fact sheet How To Find a Doctor or Treatment Facility If You Have Cancer located at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/doctor-facility on the Internet.
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Related NCI materials and Web pages:
- National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet 7.47, How To Find a Doctor or Treatment Facility If You Have Cancer
- National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet 8.9, How To Find Resources in Your Own Community If You Have Cancer
- National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Centers Database
National Cancer Institute National Organizations That Offer Services to People With Cancer and Their Families Database
For more help, contact:
NCI's Cancer Information Service
Telephone (toll-free): 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237)
TTY (toll-free): 1–800–332–8615
LiveHelp® online chat: https://cissecure.nci.nih.gov/livehelp/welcome.asp