Financial counseling and advocacy offer patients help with treatment costs
A cancer diagnosis, making decisions about treatment, and dealing with the side effects can all be sources of stress for patients and their families. Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers is committed to helping make sure treatment cost doesn’t unnecessarily add to that stress with our financial counseling and advocacy staff.
A 2013 study published in The Oncologist found that one-quarter of all cancer patients didn’t fill a prescription due to cost. That is something Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers works hard to prevent.
There are many resources available to help patients offset the often high cost of cancer treatment. Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers has Patient Financial Counselors on site at our locations to help patients find those resources and get the help they need, says Jerome Gomez, office manager for RMCC’s Littleton and Swedish locations. “My belief is that no patient should go without treatment because they can’t afford it.”
Financial Advocates for cancer patients who need assistance
Outside organizations provide grants to patients in need. In addition, some drug manufacturers offer assistance to patients who have commercial insurance, or no insurance.
RMCC’s Patient Financial Counselors stay up-to-date on these kinds of grants, and can help patients find resources and access funds. They also provide cost estimates for each patient who is about to begin a chemotherapy regimen, and they go over with the patient potential resources to help cover costs. Most grants are directed toward patients with specific types of cancer, and recipients often must meet income criteria.
“So let’s say a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer,” Gomez explains. “We would look at grants targeted for people with breast cancer, and if they meet financial criteria we would apply.”
Grants targeted to diagnosis and need
While there are many more grants available for patients with more common cancers, such as breast and colon, there also are more patients applying for those grants, Gomez says. And because the availability of funds fluctuates, RMCC’s Patient Financial Counselors know that it often pays to apply multiple times.
Many organizations award financial assistance based on financial need. Some require that patients earn no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty line, while others set the income cap at 500 percent of federal poverty. For a single person, the 2017 federal poverty line is set at an annual income of $12,060. For a family of four, it is $24,600.
Those grants often specify that the funds be used for treatment, and that usually means chemotherapy.
Let RMCC’s Patient Financial Counselors help you explore all of your options so that you can focus on what matters most — getting better.