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Paying for Cancer Treatment

Locate medical experts and find information on insurance coverage and financial assistance for risk management, treatment and follow up care.

Financial assistance for cancer treatment

Insurance companies must cover the cost for standard-of-care treatment for cancer. If your insurance company denies these services, visit our Health Insurance Appeals page for information on insurance appeals. 

Some pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs that help cover the cost for medications. Cancercare, the Patient Access Foundation, and the Patient Advocate Foundation are organizations that offer co-pay assistance for cancer care. The American Cancer Society provides information and resources on covering the cost of cancer care. Public assistance, such as Medicaid may be available if you are ineligible for other programs. The Medicaid website has a link to state Medicaid programs. Specific criteria must be met for Medicaid eligibility.

Most hospitals have social workers or financial assistance counselors who can help explain your options and direct you to resources which provide assistance in paying for medical care.

Some hospitals designated as Hill-Burton facilities receive money from the federal government. These hospitals must provide a certain amount of free or reduced-cost health services every year to those who cannot pay. Each facility may decide which type of free or reduced-cost care it will provide, and must publish this information in the newspaper, as well as provide a written notice to you upon request for Hill-Burton assistance.

Federally qualified health centers (also called “Community Health Centers”) can be a resource to anyone who needs financial assistance with their healthcare journey. Their mission is to provide care regardless of ability to pay. They often are the most knowledgeable about which other providers and organizations in their local community offer services at discounts, sliding fee scales, etc.  While their main focus is providing prevention services such as screenings, many also work with facilities that provide specialty care including cancer treatment. They can be an excellent resource in a care coordinator role for someone diagnosed with cancer who has limited financial resources.

All of the centers must provide access to mental health services and many provide access to general living assistance programs (energy assistance, child care assistance, housing assistance, etc.) which can be useful for cancer patients.

Updated 11/05/2015

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered