• Question re: assistance for uninsured cancer patients in Ohio

    Asked by BabyGirl on Thursday, May 2, 2013

    Question re: assistance for uninsured cancer patients in Ohio

    I was diagnosed with aggressive invasive ductal carcinoma in March. I had a lumpectomy in early April. I had a post-op follow up with my surgeon on Monday. I have come to find that more often than not these appointments raise so many more questions than they offer answers. I am sad to say that I don't know much more than I did a week ago, and I won't know, until I am able to meet with my oncologist and radiologist. I am currently unemployed (collecting unemployment, but it is due to run out in approx 7 weeks), and without health insurance. So far, I have not hit anything but snags and red tape. I'm either too young, or too old; not able to be helped because I don't have children in the home, or am not currently pregnant; unable to get help without an addiction or severe mental illness; unable to get assistance without ANY type of coverage or benefits. Ideas? Suggestions? I have contacted most major nonprofits with no luck with research or assistance options.

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      The first thing I would check is the local cancer center to see if they have a social worker or financial counselor who is familiar with resources in your area.

      Secondly, I held onto this list of resources from a website that is geared towards pancreatic cancer, but can be used for other cancers as well http://www.lustgarten.org/patientmedicalexpenses

      I might also ask the National Cancer Institute if they're aware of any resources http://www.cancer.gov/ or the American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/

      Good luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear BabyGirl,

      Hi. I'm Aliza, a Breast Cancer patient and the site's unofficial Medical Librarian. I answer questions (usually non medical ones), refer folks to doctors, hospitals, institutions, agencies, websites, books, media, etc. as well as research when required and requested. 'm here in my professional capacity because I think I can help more people this way even though Med Librarians shy away from answering med questions even if we know the answer as it's practicing medicine sans license which is of course illegal.

      I'm so sorry that you're having the difficult time that you are. I'm going to drop some names (it's likely you've tried them, but it's worth a shot) and then suggest some things you may not have considered, I'm guessing/hoping that you contacted Susan Komen, CancerCare, BreastCancer.Org. I just was reading something about Obamacare aka The Managed Care Act for another friend who has no insurance and from what I read it seems that this is currently in effect (I could be wrong). I stand somewhat corrected as my fiancée just informed that some states have it and some don't so you'd have to check with your local congressperson or the local Department of Health and Human Services. If you have a female congressperson, it will be to your advantage to contact her.

      The other thing I'm going to suggest is that if you belong to a religious community, Now is the time to contact your clergyperson! She/he likely has political contacts in your area that may be of help t you. If you don't belong to a congregation but come from a particular religious background, make an appointment to see your local priest, rabbi or minister and do the same. The clergy are particularly sensitive to people who are truly in need and will often go the extra mile. They also have ties to the religious organizations that help folks in each faith (you can apply directly to them for aid as well) - Catholic Charities, The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.

      Re mental illness, while I realize you are not severely mentally ill, it's possible (for the short term) to indicate that you're suffering from depression due to BC and your financial situation (it's few people who wouldn't be) so if there's a free clinic where you can obtain psychotherapy which will then entitle you to the other benefits you're seeking, it's worth chatting with a social worker or psychologist once a week (be a bit mercenary to get what you have to if necessary!). Also social workers have knowledge of and access to services for people who are ill and having financial difficulty. If they're not knowledgeable about these things then they didn't do their studying in graduate school! I'm suggesting these things so that you ultimately get the medical attention you need.

      I really feel for you and hope that you find a solution for your difficult situation soon. Please keep us posted here. If there is anything that I can do that would be helpful for you, please don't hesitate to ask me. Contact me here or feel free to email me offsite.

      Warm wishes,


      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Here's a link to a website that list various different organizations that offer financial aide and help getting insurance.

      Also FreeBirds advice about talking to the social worker at your cancer center is spot on. The one's where I am treated are very very good a navigating and working the system to help get services needed.

      Hugs, prayers and best of luck

      over 3 years ago
    • LisaD@StF's Avatar

      Hello babygirl I am also going to throw some sites that you may have already tried but maybe one will be new. 1st (www.bcfohio.org) Visit this site as it states it is for emergency funds for breast patients in Ohio. 2nd (www.managecancer.org/resources/financial-support.aspx) 3rd (www.thepinkfund.org) I hope one of these helps. Good luck, prayers for you

      over 3 years ago
    • Kossmore's Avatar

      Many treatment centers have financial assistance programs you can apply for. When you sign up for treatment they will give you the forms to fill out and return. Be diligent with this process, make at least two copies of everything because it is a long process for the treatment centers for approve the payments. They will not bill you so you do not need to worry about payments. Mine took several years and I had to redo the paperwork twice for each treatment. I also live in Ohio. Best of luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • mcowett's Avatar

      Hi Babygirl, no worries. It's not good for you. I was in a similar situation to you except I was fortunately 6 months into a new career as a Massage Therapist. You know, one of those jobs that you only get paid when you can work - and work hard. . . Anyway, I'm 10 months from being diagnosed, surgery, chemo, radiation, now tomoxifin & herceptin and somehow, by the grace of God, friends, family, the cancer center, American Caner Society, and all the other support places that others listed, I am still here, in my house, living life. You will be able to do it too. Stay strong Don't spend energy on worrying, and you will make it.

      over 3 years ago
    • Mamabear894's Avatar

      HI Baby Girl, I was in the same situation in Feb of this year. There is a program called BCCTP (Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program). It is a two step program with part 1 being mammogram and any biopsy's necessary for diagnosis. Part 2 is for treatment and anything else necessary for your health. I was able to apply through my local health clinic. Even tho I am in California I know this program is available in Ohio since I had the thought of moving to Ohio to be with my family when I was first diagnosed. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions I may answer. Good Luck in your Journey.

      over 3 years ago
    • Diana60's Avatar

      I totally understand where you are coming from. I have a limited benefit program. My husband retired due to 8 bulging disc in his back at 62 and I just hit 60. Every woman Matters was going to help with the bills but a Christmas bonus put me $950 over their limit and left me with over $32,000 in hospital bills and $9845 in physician bills. I applied for everything and finally the hospital and doctors gave me a reduction but I still had to take a second job to pay the bills. I am worn out and can't afford to go to the cancer center every 3 months, so I told them that I would be in at 6 months. Since my mother and sister died of lung cancer, this is very scary for me. The stress is terrible. Because I work and carry the insurance my employer has, I am not eligible for any government programs and I don't make enough to afford better insurance and now, will not qualify. I know there are others out there in the same financial spot. I am hoping that I can qualify for something in October, so I can have better medical care in 2014

      over 3 years ago
    • Diana60's Avatar

      I understand where you are coming from. I too am a working person that does not make enough to afford insurance. My husband is retired and has 8 bulging disc in his back. We make too much to get any government help, but not enough to be able to afford good insurance. The surgery bills were over $32,000 at the hospital and $8945 from the doctors. By filling out multiple paperwork, the hospital and doctors did reduce the bills but I have had to take a second job to pay them. I can't afford the cancer center, so cancelled the 3 month checkup and made one for 6 months. It is scary when you think about the fact that I lost my mother and sister to lung cancer. My limited benefit from work only paid $1500 and paid $65 toward the $688 cancer center bill. I am praying that I can get better insurance in October so that I can afford care in 2014. Right now I am struggling with how to afford the 6 month mammogram as my insurance only pays for one a year.

      over 3 years ago
    • BabyGirl's Avatar

      I have looked in to Medicaid, SSI, Disability and BCCP in Ohio. I'm not old enough for Medicaid or BCCP; I am not considered 'disabled' despite my cancer diagnosis. I also don't qualify for Medicaid because I don't have children in the home and am not currently pregnant. I have contacted senators, congressmen, government offices, non-profits. It's a tedious process and completely sickening when you are told (NO JOKE) that if you were an alcoholic or an addict you could get help; OR "if only you were pregnant..." *sigh*

      over 3 years ago

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