Cancer is an expensive illness, and it is often a challenge to keep up with the additional costs you may experience after being diagnosed. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) publication Cancer and Your Finances provides guidance about health insurance, government programs and financial assistance programs. It also provides information about the US Affordable Care Act (ACA). We also encourage you to check with the organizations below to see if financial assistance is currently available.
Assistance from Non-Profit Foundations
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Co-Pay Assistance Program for WM Patients in the US
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Co-Pay Assistance Program offers financial help toward treatment-related co-payments, premiums for private health insurance, and premiums and co-pay obligations for Medicare Part B, Medicare Plan D, Medicare Supplementary Health Insurance, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid Spend-down.
Assistance to WM patients is awarded for a 12-month coverage period, and the maximum award available may vary from year-to-year. To be eligible, a patient must meet the following requirements:
- Have a household income that is at or below 500% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines as adjusted by the Cost of Living Index (COLI). Example Federal Poverty Levels can be viewed here.
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident of the US or Puerto Rico and be medically and financially qualified.
- Have prescription insurance coverage.
- Have a WM diagnosis confirmed by a doctor.
You can find more information about the program, including a list of covered expenses, and how to apply here.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Patient Travel Assistance Program
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Patient Travel Assistance Program is available to blood cancer patients in the US, with significant financial need, who may qualify to receive financial assistance for approved expenses that include: ground transportation (gas, tolls, car rental, taxi, bus, train, ambulance services, etc.), air travel, and lodging-related expenses, You can find more information about this program including eligibility requirements and how to apply here.
PAN Foundation Prescription Co-Pay Assistance
WM patients in the US may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation to help with high prescription co-pays and deductibles for drugs used to treat WM. WM patients can qualify for PAN assistance as part of its Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Program, which allows a maximum award over 12 months for prescription cancer treatment. The amount of the maximum award may vary from year-to-year.
In order for patients to qualify for co-payment assistance with Patient Access Network, they must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- The patient should be insured, and insurance must cover the medication for which the patient seeks assistance.
- The medication must treat the illness directly.
- The patient must reside in and receive treatment in the United States.
- The patient’s income must fall at or below 400% or 500% of the Federal Poverty Level. (Federal Poverty Levels can be viewed here.)
Details and information on how to apply can be found here.
CancerCare - provides limited financial assistance to people affected by cancer. Information on this program, availability and qualifications can be found at www.cancercare.org/financial.
Lymphoma Research Foundation – offers a list of additional organizations that may, from time to time, provide financial assistance for people undergoing treatment for lymphoma, which can be found on their website here.
Triage Cancer – offers financial tips, tools, and links to additional organizations that provide financial support on their website.
HealthWell Foundation (https://www.healthwellfoundation.org/) - The HealthWell Foundation focuses on helping patients with prescription drug copayments, deductibles and health insurance premiums. Like CancerCare, funds are divided into disease categories. An independent review panel decides how much funding each category should receive. “We look at the landscape within each disease area and try to spread as much out as possible to the patients in those spaces,” says Krista Zodet, president.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN - https://www.nccn.org/reimbursement_resource_room/#cancer) - The National Comprehensive Cancer Network maintains a list of patient and caregiver resources in its Virtual Reimbursement Resource Room Guide. Visitors to the site can search by cancer type, drug name or reimbursement program to find corresponding resources. They also can download the entire guide or install a version on a smartphone or tablet. The service is offered at no charge, although access requires registration. Both iOS and Android devices are supported.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC - https://www.cancerfac.org) - The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition offers a onestop method of searching for aid from its 14-member alliance. The site’s homepage allows searches by diagnosis, zip code and type of service needed. It also offers information on various cancer costs, as well as how to take control of finances and find help within local communities.
Needy Meds (http://www.needymeds.org/) - More than 20 years ago, Richard Sagall, M.D., was practicing family medicine in Maine when he learned of several patient assistance programs his patients weren’t familiar with. During nights and weekends, he designed a website, needymeds.org, to get the word out. Today, the site offers information on assistance programs from more than 400 companies with programs offering more than 4,000 different drugs and formulations. Website visitors can obtain drug discount cards, coupons and rebates, as well as find local and national financial resources based on diagnosis.
Gooddays (https://www.mygooddays.org/) - Good Days was founded in 2003 by a business executive who was stunned by the out-of-pocket costs for his Crohn’s disease medication and decided to help others who had to choose between the costs of everyday living and affording their medication. As with other agencies, the amount of money provided is not unlimited and depends on diagnosis. In addition to covering the price of medications, Good Days helps patients who must leave their hometowns for therapy. "When one of our patients needs to travel more than 100 miles for treatment, we act as a travel coordinator, ensuring their lodging is as close to the hospital as possible and that they get to their appointments on time," says Clorinda Walley, executive director. "That's especially important for older people who may be on a fixed income and have limited means of transportation." An enrollment application is available on the Good Days website, but Walley recommends speaking with a patient navigator beforehand to determine eligibility, personal needs and whether funding exists. "If we don't have the resources for their specific diagnosis, we try to identify who does, and we'll help them connect," says Walley. "I believe that as humans, we have a fundamental responsibility to take care of the people around us."
FamilyReach (http://familyreach.org) - Family Reach employs a different model to disburse funding to patients with cancer: It relies on social workers at hospitals around the country to perform a kind of financial triage, identifying those most in need of services. “We differ in that we step in to pay major bills such as mortgage, rent and car payments,” says Carla Tardif, chief executive officer. “We don’t have a long application process. When these families need help, they’re in crisis. They don’t have time to go back and collect pay stubs and tax returns.”
Assistance from Pharmaceutical Companies
The potential cost of novel oral medications such as IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib) is a recent and growing concern to the WM community. The Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation provides assistance to uninsured US patients who lack the financial resources to pay for certain medicines, including IMBRUVICA®. To see if you qualify, call the Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation at 800-652-6227 or visit its website at www.jjpaf.org.
Patients with limited financial resources taking medications marketed by other pharmaceutical companies are encouraged to contact the financial assistance programs of those respective pharmaceutical companies - in many cases, some form of help is available for those in need.
ThisIsLivingWithCancer (https://www.thisislivingwithcancer.com) - Spearheaded by Pfizer, this resource goes beyond just providing support for prescription costs, and cover many aspects of support and financial assistance. This comprehensive support website is also available as a phone app ("Living With") that is available for free to all patients with cancer.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA - https://www.pparx.org/) - PPA is run by a drug company trade group called the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA. The PPA website (pparx.org/) can determine which patients are eligible to participate in any of more than 475 different assistance programs. (Yes, there really are nearly 500 separate programs, which is why it can be hard for unassisted patients to find the right ones.) Users start by typing in the name of each drug they want assistance in buying, and the site walks them through the process from there.