Financial and Transportation Resources
Getting Practical Help ~ Resources for Breast Cancer Patients
The diagnosis of breast cancer can be devastating to even the strongest of women. Cancer imposes heavy economic burdens on both patients and their families. Many breast cancer patients are fortunate to have supportive family members or friends who can help you financially or provide you with assistance in your daily care. But for those who do not have such support systems in their lives, many different kinds of help are available.
If you do not have health insurance, need financial assistance to cover healthcare costs, or need income during your illness,there are government-sponsored programs, state-assisted programs, volunteer organizations, and community resources that can be a tremendous help to you during your treatment and recovery. We have compiled a listing here to help you identify these important resources.
Breast Care Help Line - http://www.komen.org
A service of the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, this toll free phone call can help you locate timely and accurate information regarding breast health and breast cancer, facts about disease, screening methods, treatment options and information regarding resources and support in your area. Please call 1-800-I'M AWARE 1-800-462-9273, 9 am - 4:30 pm Central Standard Time Monday through Friday.
American Cancer Society - http://www.cancer.org - 800-635-9194
The ACS website and toll-free phone number can provide you with the phone number of their local office nearest to you that may offer reimbursement for expenses related to cancer treatment. They can also provide you with transportation to and from treatments. In addition, every large city has a local ACS Specialist whom you can call directly for help. These Specialists are most often former breast cancer patients who volunteer their time for cancer patients. A listing of ACS Specialists and their local phone numbers by city and state are provided on their website listed above. In addition to these services, the ACS can give you medical treatment information, advice, and support - right in your neighborhood.
Supplemental Security Income - http://www.ssa.gov -800-772-1213
If you are unable to work due to your illness, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income or SSI. These monetary benefits are administered through the Social Security Administration. Information on eligibility, coverage, and how to apply for benefits is available through the Social Security Administration at the website listed above. By calling the phone number listed here, you can apply directly over the phone with one of their representatives. You can also apply in person at your nearest Social Security office. You can get this address by looking in your local telephone book.
Department of Social Services - 800-392-1261
This government agency has many useful programs listed below that may help you. Call the toll-free number to obtain the location of your nearest office. Each state has its own website address. To find your state, enter "Department of Social Services" into your Yahoo, Excite, AOL, or other search engine, and all the website addresses will be shown for each state.
a) Medicaid provides health insurance for people on limited incomes or those who are disabled and can't work for at least one year. It helps to pay for doctor and hospital bills as well. This benefit is coordinated through the DSS office or the Social Security office, so you can apply at either location.
b) The DSS also has "General Assistance" programs that can provide food, housing, prescription drugs, and other medical expenses for those who do not qualify for other programs. Funds are often limited, but it's worth checking into.
c) This office also handles food stamps and welfare benefits if needed.
Veterans Benefits - http://www.va.gov/vbs/health/ - 800-827-1000
Eligible veterans and their dependents may receive cancer treatment at a Veterans Administration Medical Center (VA Hospital). Treatments for military-connected conditions are provided, but treatment for other conditions may also be available based on financial need.
Hill-Burton Program - http://www.hrsa.gov/osp/dfcr/ - 800-638-0742
This is a program through which hospitals receive construction funding from the Federal Government. Hospitals that receive this money are required to provide some services to people who can't pay for their hospitalization. Visit their website or call to learn more about this and whether there is a participating hospital in your area.
Patient Advocate Foundation- http://www.patientadvocate.org - 800-532-5274
This is a wonderful resource to direct you to places where you can obtain additional help or deal with legal issues surrounding insurance denials, etc. Visit their website for a state directory of offices.
Also, call for their free pamphlet entitled, "The Patient Pal - Resources for Patients in Need of Insurance, Job Discriminations and Debt Assistance"
They also have another helpful publication called, "The National Financial Resources Guidebook for Patients: A State-by-State Directory."
Free Medical Transport for Those in Need
There are various services that offer free or low-cost transportation for those in need because of a serious illness. These are offered mainly in the US.
Air Care Alliance: http://www.aircareall.org/listings.htm
American Airlines: http://www.aa.com/
Will give you twice in a lifetime free flights for child and both parents. Contact # (817) 963-8118 - Debbie Ryan
Debby works by voice mail and fax. You will need a fax number so she can send you forms.
Give her all the information she requests. She will call you with schedule several weeks before you are scheduled to fly.
Angel Flight: http://www.angelflight.org/ - West Coast
Angel Flight: http://www.angelflight-ga.org/ - East Cost
Road to Recovery: Contact your local American Cancer Society for more information, 800-ACS-2345.
Corporate Angel Network: http://www.corpangelnetwork.org/
Miracle Flights: http://www.miracleflights.org/
Provides transportation assistance for both parents to fly with the child for medical treatments. Contact Deanna at Miracle Flights 1- 800-359-1711
Mercy Medical Airlift: http://www.mercymedical.org/
This is the clearing house for Continental Airlines' free flights. This is for unlimited use once you qualify.
Contact Mary Ann Chiswell at (757) 318-9175.
Warning: On one of their forms they have this statement for the doctor to sign. "There will be no medical care enroute and the patient must be able to get into and out of the aircraft with minimal assistance and must be able to sit in an ordinary aircraft seat."
National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses,Inc.: http://www.nahhh.org/
Patient Travel: http://www.patienttravel.org/
Southwest Airlines: http://www.southwest.com/
Using donated frequent flyer miles, Southwest gives free flights twice a year for child and both parents.
Contact Tracey Martin at (214) 792-4103.
(800) Fly - 4 - Les / (800) 862 - 8621
Special Needs Department: Ted Hollingsworth
Volunteer Pilots Organization: http://www.volunteerpilots.org/
The World Life Foundation:
PO Box 571
Bedford TX 76095
Phone: (800) 289 - 5433 / (817) 282 - 1405
Fax: (817) 285 - 0216
Helps parents who need travel assistance for emergency medical conditions and pays for car rental.
Cancer Care, Inc. - http://www.cancercare.org - 800-813-4673
Avon Products Foundation has provided Cancer Care, Inc. with a generous gift to establish this new program: "AVON-Cares Program for Medically Underserved Women." The program will provide financial assistance to low-income, underinsured, or uninsured women. It will also help pay for diagnostic services and transportation, provide childcare for women with families, or provide an escort to accompany older women to and from diagnostic workup and treatment.
Phrma - http://www.phrma.org - 800-762-4636
This is the Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America. They provide medicines free of charge to physicians whose patients are in financial need. To make it easier for physicians to identify the growing number of drug manufacturer programs available for their patients, Phrma has developed a manufacturer directory that your doctor can use to make a request on your behalf and to determine eligibility requirements and what medicines are covered. Your doctor would make a request to each individual drug company. This service is only available to your doctor, so please make them aware of this program if he or she is not familiar with it.
RXHope - http://www.rxHope.com - 908-850-8004 (New Jersey)
This is a privately-owned company (supported by Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America and participating pharmaceutical companies) that offers a Patient Assistance Program. This is a related service to the PHRMA listing above. It helps your doctor ACTUALLY submit the request to the drug companies as described above, expediting the response time and creating less work for them. RXHope Patient Assistance Program staff members take the information your doctor submits to them online and forwards the details electronically to the many drug companies offering such programs to see if there is a match between the drug you are seeking and the ones that are part of the programs. Your doctor must contact them directly, so be sure to ask about this.
Be sure to check organizations in your area such as The Salvation Army, Jewish Social Services, Catholic Charities, and the Lions Club. They may be able to offer assistance. Also, some churches and synagogues may provide financial help to their members. Even if they can't offer financial help, they can help you in other ways such as cooking hot meals for you, helping with laundry and food shopping, and providing childcare when you are not feeling well.