|Directory Of Financial Resources||Financial Resource Guide For Patients: A state by state directory.|
|Angel Flight||Angel Flight arranges free air transportation for charitable and medical needs.|
|Corporate Angel Network||Arranges free travel for cancer patients to treatment centers using the empty seats on corporate jets.|
|NeedyMeds.com||A site to learn about patient assistance programs and other programs designed to help those who cant afford their medicines.|
|Medicare.gov||Official U.S. government site for people with Medicare.|
|Fifth Season Financial Assistance||Fifth Season’s Loans for Living program provides people living with late stage cancer, loans against their life insurance policy. The loan is designed to allow the cancer patients and their families to focus on living each day to its fullest without the distractions of financial stress. To learn more, call toll-free (866) 459-1271 or visit www.fifthseasonfinancial.com .|
|Patient Advocate Foundation||Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) is a national 501 (c)(3) non-profit case management service that assures access to care, maintenance of employment, and preservation of financial stability for Americans with chronic, life-threatening, and debilitating illnesses.|
|Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program||Patient Advocate Foundation’s Co-Pay Relief (CPR) program provides co-payment assistance for prescription drugs to insured Americans who financially and medically qualify. Services are provided through CPR call counselors, and payments are made to the designated payee upon approval.
For more information about the PAF Co-Pay Relief Program, visit www.copays.org.
As someone diagnosed with cancer or as the primary caregiver for a cancer patient, you already know that information can be your best ally. Informing yourself about options and resources for confronting the financial challenges that cancer presents is no less important than studying disease characteristics and treatment options. An understanding of the various ways to ease the burden of medical bills can be a critical step in alleviating stress and allowing you to remain focused on your care and well-being or that of your loved one.
Fifth Season Financial Corp, a lending institution uniquely and exclusively dedicated to the financial needs of those confronting life-threatening illnesses, has worked with Cancer Consultants to develop the following guidelines to help cancer patients and their families effectively manage their healthcare expenses so that they can focus on their well-being and cherished relationships with friends and family.
When you or a loved one has cancer, many issues, decisions and difficulties arise. Fortunately, there are numerous national, regional and local support services to help you deal with many of these problems. The first step is learning about the types of services available and where they can be most conveniently accessed.
This information can help you familiarize yourself with numerous resources that are available, explore new ways to meet your financial challenges, and ultimately gain peace of mind.
The truth is worrying about money matters takes its toll on other aspects of your life, from physical health to emotional balance. Therefore, the more proactively you address the new financial changes and challenges that accompany a life-threatening illness, the better things are for you—and for your family.
The Ten Essential Guiding Steps to Clarity and Control
www.dol.gov , or call 866-444-3272.
2. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
HIPPA is another amendment to ERISA which provides important new protections for working Americans and their families who have preexisting medical conditions or might otherwise suffer discrimination in health coverage based on factors that relate to an individual’s health. For further information go to www.dol.gov , or call 866-444-3272.
3. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These federal laws, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, pertain to job discrimination based on disability or disease. For further information go to www.ada.gov , or call 800-514-0301.
4. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This is the U.S. Government Agency that enforces federal employment discrimination laws. For further information go to www.eeoc.gov , or call 800-669-4000.
Additional programs available through federal or state agencies:
Medicare is a federal health insurance program available for persons 65 years or older and/or those who have certain disabilities or have end-stage renal disease that requires dialysis.
Medicare consists of two main categories: the “Original Medicare Plan” and the “Medicare Advantage Plan.” Each category is made up of four subcategories: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D.
The Original Medicare Plan Overview
The Original Medicare Plan consists of Part A— you have the option of adding Part B and D. You will automatically be enrolled in the Original
Medicare Plan unless you specifically choose to join a Medicare Advantage
Plan (Part C). This operates as a fee-for-service plan. Most individuals pay a deductible and then a co-pay or co-insurance.
The Original Medicare Plan does not cover everything. Costs that you may incur include co-insurance, co-pays, deductibles, etc. These costs are called gaps. To help cover these costs, you may want to consider purchasing a Medigap policy (private medical expense insurance plan that supplements Medicare coverage).
Part A Overview
Part A covers inpatient care and hospice and home healthcare. Most individuals do not pay a premium for this coverage.
Part B Overview
Part B covers outpatient care, doctor services, therapists, additional home healthcare, and approved medical supplies. Most individuals will have to pay a premium to receive this coverage.
Part C Overview
Part C is the combination of Part A and Part B. The main difference in Part C is that it is provided through private insurance companies approved by Medicare. With this program you may have lower costs and receive extra benefits.
Part D Overview
Part D is stand-alone prescription drug coverage insurance. Most individuals have to pay a premium for this coverage. Plans vary and cover different drugs, but all medically-necessary drugs are covered. You may choose what drug plan will be best suited to your needs.
For additional information, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213, or go to www.ssa.gov .
Medicaid is a combination of federal and state programs to help cover medical costs. Eligibility depends on your income as well as the ability to meet specific requirements.
Each individual state decides who is eligible and the scope of health services offered. Depending on your state’s rules, you may also be asked to pay a small part of the cost for some medical services.
Low income is only one test for Medicaid eligibility; assets and resources are also tested against established thresholds.
For information about Medicaid contact the State Department of Social
Services, or go to www.cms.hhs.gov .
Veterans Administration (VA)
Veterans Administration Benefits may be available if an individual patient or spouse served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Acute medical care, medications, and long-term care/assistance may be available.
The VA may provide disability payments for Vietnam Veterans who have certain types of cancer and/or peripheral neuropathy (from exposure to Agent Orange).
Contact your local VA representative for coverage, benefits and facilities, or call 800-827-1000, or go to www.va.gov .
Special Programs for State Grants
The state in which you live may have special programs or grants for individuals battling a diagnosis of cancer. These programs are usually for emergency hospitalization and basic needs.
Contact: Hospital social workers, hospital finance offices, and/or your physician’s office manager would likely have the most up-to-date information regarding these special programs.
Finally, call your elected representatives either in Washington, DC, or in your state capital. You will probably be asked to talk to an aide, but the aide will get the message to your representative. Tell them what you need and what research you have done. They may be able to clear up a problem of eligibility for a federal or state program, or recommend a program with which you are not familiar.
There are Prescription Assistance Programs from pharmaceutical companies if you cannot afford your prescriptions. For more information either ask your pharmacist or search the Internet for available programs.
What if You Need, or Want, More Health Coverage?
For some, doctor’s office visits, treatments, and regular use of prescription medications are a significant monthly expense, and health insurance that pays for a good portion of these costs is essential.
For others, the biggest worry may be long hospital stays, costly surgeries and post-operative care. Because of the potentially enormous costs involved, this is often referred to as “catastrophic care”—help for out-of-the-ordinary, and usually catastrophic, consequences to one’s finances.
There are companies that specialize in providing insurance coverage for catastrophic illnesses. These policies have very limited, or no coverage, for routine expenses like doctor’s visits or prescriptions, and they generally have very high deductibles—the higher the deductible, the lower your premiums. However, you will have to make a judgment as to your need for this coverage versus your ability to pay for it and the deductible.
Some companies also offer Long Term Care insurance, but again, there are limitations on what is covered, caps on the total benefit payments you may receive, and costly premiums. Your doctor may be able to help you determine if you are likely to require long-term care of the type covered by this insurance.
If you do not have healthcare coverage, you (if your health permits) or your spouse might consider taking a job with a company that offers open enrollment health plans.
You also may look for group coverage (at rates that are generally far less expensive than individual policies) by joining an association or similar organization. For instance, look into the National Association for the Self- Employed (NASE). The process of becoming a “self-employed” worker is quite simple; your lawyer may advise you on what you need to do.
Complex Care Management Programs Can SimplifyTreatment Options
Complex Care Management Programs are designed to support those individuals that are very sick. Complex Care Management Programs put you in control of your treatment options. Most often these plans will assign a Health Advocacy Team to assist you through the healthcare system and act as an advocate on your behalf. The Health Advocate’s job is to gain a thorough understanding of your situation, then explain all of your treatment options and the possible outcomes of each, to you and your family. With this information, you are able to make informed decisions about the treatment plan that is right for you.
There are a number of programs available at the federal or state level that may provide income assistance. Some of these programs are briefly outlined below.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
SSI, AFDC and SSDI may be reached at 800-772-1213, or go to www.ssa.gov .
Disability Insurance Policy or Income ProtectionProgram
Employer Disability Benefit (Short-term/Long-termLeave)
www.nfcc.org , or call 800-388-2227.
Life Insurance: The Hidden Asset
You may not have thought of your life insurance policy as an asset, but through some relatively new products and services, virtually all life insurance policies may be turned into cash.
There are two basic types of insurance: Individual insurance that you purchase yourself and Group insurance obtained through an employer or association. Most group life insurance policies are “term” insurance. Term insurance pays a fixed amount (the face amount) to beneficiaries at the time of the insured’s death. Individual policies can be term, “whole life” (sometimes called universal life) or a combination. Whole life policies invest a portion of the premium payment. These invested funds create cash value that will be added to the initial face value of the policy to increase the amount paid at time of death.
A Cash Value Loan
Most whole life and universal or variable life policies (or that portion of combination policies) have provisions to allow the individual covered by the policy to borrow a percentage of the accumulated cash value at any given point.
Often, the interest rate at which you may borrow these funds is fixed at the time you purchased the policy, and it can be quite low compared with current rates for other forms of borrowing. This option generally is only available on more expensive forms of individual coverage.
Taking a loan from the cash portion of your life insurance policy may be a relatively inexpensive way to obtain cash. In most cases, you need only pay the interest each year; you do not have to pay back the principal (the amount borrowed). But, if you do not pay back the principal, you do two things: (1) you reduce the amount the insurance company has to invest on your behalf to create greater cash value, and (2) you reduce the amount your survivors will receive at the time of your death.
If your policy has a provision (or “rider”) allowing the payment of accelerated benefits, this means you may elect to take a portion of the face value, or death benefit, while you are still living. The maximum amount of cash you may receive typically ranges between 25% and 50% of the total benefit amount of the policy. The remainder will then be paid to your survivors at the time of your death.
In most cases, these benefits cannot be used unless your life expectancy is 12 months or less, which must be substantiated by medical records and verified by the insurance company physician. And, it is possible that receiving the lump sum funds may jeopardize your eligibility for financial aid programs with income limits.
Secured No-payment Line Of Credit
A non-recourse loan is based on the amount of your life insurance policy’s death benefit. In most cases, accelerated death benefits limit the amount you may obtain to a range of 25% to 50% of your policy’s death benefit, whereas a non-recourse loan may provide up to 70% of the death benefit of the life insurance policy.
There are a number of other factors that distinguish the non-recourse loan from other forms of financing – and especially from other methods of using your life insurance policy to generate cash.
These factors include:
It is important to remember that the full balance of your life insurance policy death benefit above and beyond repayment of advances, origination fee, premium payments and interest generally are paid tax-free directly to your beneficiaries.
The non-recourse loan can be made on most forms of life insurance policies— term, whole life or a combination—as long as your policy is “assignable” and beyond the two year contestable period. You also must be prepared to have your medical records evaluated to confirm that your life expectancy is five years or less to qualify.
Peace of mind is the bottom line in this non-recourse loan.
Importantly, if you survive beyond the five years, the loan will continue to be payable out of policy death benefit, and neither you, nor your estate, will have any personal liability.
For more information on non-recourse loans call toll-free 866-459-1271, or go to www.fifthseasonfinancial.com .
A life settlement (commonly called a viatical settlement) involves selling your life insurance policy to a company in return for cash. The amount offered by the viatical company is a reduced percentage of the face value of the policy. As the new owner of the policy, the company pays all future premiums and collects the policy’s full benefits when the policy matures.
Unlike accelerated benefits, viatical companies will usually purchase policies from individuals who have life expectancies of up to five years.
There are no restrictions on how the money may be used.
If you decide to research viatical companies, here are some suggested questions to ask:
For more information, call the Life Insurance Settlement Association of America at 877-382-4357, or visit www.lisassociation.org . Brochures are also available by calling the Federal Trade Commission at 202-326-2222.
What Options Do I Have Left if I Do Not Have Life Insurance?
If you are among those without a life insurance policy, there are a number of solutions. You’ve probably seen advertisements for insurance policies that promise “no health exam, you cannot be denied.” These are real insurance policies called guaranteed issue or special issue policies. They were created to fill the need of people who have no policy or who want additional insurance. Make sure the policy truly is a life insurance policy, not just an accidental death policy. There may also be a two-year waiting period to qualify. Keep in mind that premiums for this type of insurance are among the highest in the industry.
Omni Health Media . All Rights Reserved.