Receiving a lymphoma diagnosis when you’re uninsured can present a financial obstacle. The costs of anticancer drug therapies, hospital stays, doctor visits, potential surgeries and transplants, and radiation therapy for lymphoma can easily add up to thousands of dollars in medical bills. There are also indirect costs of undergoing lymphoma treatment, such as lost wages, childcare, and transportation.
Fortunately, there are programs in the United States to help uninsured people with lymphoma afford and receive treatment. Insurance plans and financial assistance programs provided by nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and other organizations help cover both direct and indirect costs of treatment for different types of lymphoma.
Although getting health insurance coverage is the best way to access and afford treatment for lymphoma, it is not always attainable for everyone. Even with insurance, costs from premiums, deductibles, and copays for lymphoma care can be expensive. This article discusses programs and resources for receiving lymphoma treatment if you’re under- or uninsured.
Consider your health insurance options when planning your finances for lymphoma care. Although health insurance plans may seem expensive, health care providers and hospitals work with insurance companies to make coverage more affordable, so it will help you to pay less for care in the long run.
There are several public and private health insurance programs that can help reduce your out-of-pocket medical costs.
Public health insurance programs include the following:
If you do not qualify for a public health insurance program, there are several options for private health insurance:
Without health insurance, there are different ways and financial assistance programs to help you afford treatment for lymphoma.
Here are some tips for lowering the costs of medications:
Some programs provide drug discounts and other information to help make medications more affordable, whether or not you have insurance. Check if there are any pharmaceutical assistance programs for your lymphoma medications. These programs are offered by drug manufacturers and provide discounts on drug prices. To find them, search the name of your drug plus patient assistance program on Google, or review this chart with popular anticancer medications from Triage Cancer.
Other resources include NeedyMeds, a nonprofit organization that provides resources for affording prescription drugs for many different conditions. The PhRMA’s Medicine Assistance Tool, which matches insured and uninsured people with resources for affording medications, is also helpful.
If you are uninsured and cannot afford to pay a medical bill, try meeting in person with someone from the billing department where you received treatment. Explain your situation and ask if they can offer financial help, including things like:
Hospitals that are Hill-Burton Facilities are obligated to help provide free or low-cost medical services to people who cannot afford them. Check this list to find a Hill-Burton hospital near you.
Hospital and clinic-based staff like social workers, patient navigators, and financial counselors can help you navigate resources for affording lymphoma treatment without insurance. They know about different ways to save money on care and assistance programs that you may be eligible for.
Oncology social workers will also know of local city and county-based medical aid options for those with a low income or who are uninsured. Most hospitals and clinics have social workers on staff. If you have trouble locating a social worker, CancerCare offers oncology social workers that you can contact at 800-813-4673.
Whether or not you have insurance, clinical trials could be an option for accessing free or low-cost lymphoma treatments. Clinical trials are FDA-sponsored research studies that examine the efficacy of new drugs and procedures, and they are funded by the National Institute of Health. Ask your doctor if they know of any clinical trials or review the list of clinical trials for different types of lymphoma by the National Cancer Institute.
Although a clinical trial participant may not have to pay for the actual treatment costs, there may be other costs of taking part in a clinical trial like doctor visits and transportation that would be difficult to afford if you’re uninsured. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offers a list of resources for covering costs associated with a clinical trial.
If you’re uninsured and need assistance covering the expenses of lymphoma care, some additional resources and programs offer financial support. Click on the highlighted links below to review each program and its eligibility requirements.
Some lymphoma and blood cancer-specific financial resources include:
Some financial assistance resources for all types of blood cancer, including lymphoma include:
In addition to financial resources for the medical expenses of lymphoma, there are resources to help with nonmedical expenses, like those for transportation and lodging, childcare, mortgages, and food. The American Cancer Society offers more information about these resources.
Talking to other people who understand what you are going through can be a great source of emotional support.
MyLymphomaTeam is the social network for people with lymphoma. On MyLymphomaTeam, more than 10,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with lymphoma.
Are you uninsured and living with lymphoma? Have you had success getting help with your medical care costs? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.