A cancer diagnosis immediately changes a person’s life and typically comes as a shock. Everyone reacts to the news in their own way, but it’s completely normal to feel fear and anger, and perhaps even hopelessness, following a diagnosis. Some even experience strong feelings of denial. It’s estimated that roughly 38% of people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime. The most common types are breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer, and cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world.
Following a diagnosis, you’ll no doubt have many questions for your doctor such as what type of cancer you have, how advanced it is, what treatment options are available, and what your expected prognosis is. In addition to the physical and emotional toll cancer takes on patients, and their loved ones, the financial burden can be extreme as well. Things like cancer treatment, medication, hospital stays, and surgeries aren’t cheap, and health insurance plans often only cover some of the medical expenses associated with a catastrophic disease. Other costs like housing, home care, and transportation costs can also take a toll on cancer patients and families. Fortunately, there are several organizations that help cancer patients financially.
American Cancer Society
This organization strives to educate people about cancer, including preventative measures and early warning signs since early detection is so crucial to save lives. They also help cancer patients learn about treatment options, including clinical trials for those who aren’t seeing the desired results from their medical treatment or who have coverage for the costs of participation. They teach patients about health insurance options as well and can help them get coverage through an employer or government program if applicable.
In addition to information for cancer patients and caregivers, they offer free support services in certain areas for those in need of financial help. The Hope Lodge program is a great example. This program provides a free place to stay for patients seeking medical care away from home. They also work with hotels to help accommodate those getting treatment in areas without a lodge.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition
The CFAC is a group of national organizations that offer financial resources to cancer patients and family members. Many members are nonprofit organizations or volunteer organizations, and they offer help for medical bills, housing, meal delivery, prescription medication, transplants, prosthetics, and more.
The member organization Be The Match connects patients with blood cancers, like lymphoma and leukemia, to donors for blood and bone marrow. Good Days helps patients afford the medication they need by assisting them with health insurance coverage. Each organization involved seeks to ensure cancer patients have the knowledge they need to make the right decisions and are empowered with options to pursue them.
American Life Fund
This is a viatical settlement company. A viatical settlement is similar to a life settlement in that they both involve the sale of a life insurance policy to a third-party buyer, but viaticals has specific requirements and advantages. Chiefly, viatical settlements are only available to those with chronic diseases and short life expectancies, making them somewhat uniquely equipped to help with the financial challenges of cancer patients. To qualify for a viatical settlement, you simply need to meet the following criteria.
- A life-threatening disease with a life expectancy of two to four years
- A life insurance policy that’s been active for at least two years
- The policy must be valued at least $100,000
Viatical settlements can typically be completed in a matter of days, and best of all, the money is tax-free. Additionally, there are no limitations on how you use the money, so you can spend it on treatment, medical supplies, caregivers, or anything else that can help ease your burden.