Category Archives: financial assistance

Financial aid for breast cancer & a collective thank you

At a recent breast cancer retreat, one of the “house moms” asked those of us at the dinner table, “What helped you the most?” One woman described how prayer in the morning helped her get through each day, and so on. By the time it was my turn to answer I was feeling incredibly shallow. My answer? “Money.” (Though flowers are a close second.)

Getting breast cancer meant that I took an incredible financial hit, in lost income and increased expenses. So how did I get through? Well, in part, through grants. Continue reading

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Filed under breast cancer, chemo, costs, financial assistance

Blogher, i[2]y and the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund

I feel like a walking advertisement for AFLAC. I should have bought their cancer insurance – I think the deal was something like $20 a month and a $9000 payout. That would have worked nicely.

However, I didn’t do it. Sigh. Since my breast cancer diagnosis, due to the sheer # of doctor’s appointments and feeling crummy due to chemo I’ve had to shift down to working part-time. This, combined with additional medical expenses and the fact that I have no disability insurance (as is the case with many nonprofit staff) leaves me with a $1000 gap between expenses and income each month.

So I’ve applied for financial assistance like crazy. Most recently, I saw a post on blogher about a young adult’s cancer survivorship group called “I’m too young for this.” Being under 40 and currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer, the post caught my eye. I followed the link to the “I’m too young” site, and that led to the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund. I wrote to them to see if they provide financial help for those outside of California, and they wrote back a day later and said they did, and so I applied right away.

Friday night – 9 days after I saw the blogher post – they called and said they had unanimously approved my application and were paying the majority of my rent for August. Now that’s a quick turn-around. And the assistance really helps.

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Filed under breast cancer, chemo, costs, financial assistance

Almost done with A/C!

On to the last adriamycin/cytoxan chemo on Thursday!! So excited to be almost done. These past few days I’ve been super tired because the chemo caused my feet to swell, so I could barely walk, so I haven’t been able to exercise, which in turn makes me tired. I miss my daily walks around the neighborhood, a lot. More than I would have imagined.

My SIL, her mom and my niece and nephew were here last week and that was wonderful. Many many thanks to Katie’s Nana, as she put up a curtain rod and did multiple other house repairs. Go Nana!

And many thanks to my SIL, Anne, who spent a whole day organizing my medical bills and helping to figure out financial aid. With the help of the Breast Center social worker, we continued Anne’s good work, got a lot of paperwork sorted, and applied for grants.

The good news is that I’ve rec’d three grant awards so far, two of which seem to be accessible. (Only being able to work part-time and having almost $400 in additional medical costs per month gives me a budget gap of anywhere from $600 – $1000 a month which I’ve been trying to cut and fill, so I’ve spent days and days working on budgets. Yep, life without disability insurance bites. And to think that I almost got us disability insurance at work in January, I just put it off a little too long. The paperwork was in the works. Sigh….)

CancerCare is sending $150 off the bat (bless them) and will reimburse for $300 in prescriptions, with their funding from AvonCares. Thanks to my sister-in-law and the social worker at the Breast Center, over $300 in receipts got sent off on Friday, so we’ll see how many of my pain and anti-nausea prescriptions they’ll actually cover.

The Copay Relief Fund is supposedly awarding $2000, with the final decision June 15, but it all seems to be in the works. They’ll pay for co-pays for prescriptions (past and future, which rocks) and for co-pays for doctor’s visits (also very good for reimbursement, but not so useful in the future because I’ve hit my insurance max-billed-out-of-pocket so I won’t have to pay future copays anyways). I doubt that I’ll be able to access half of the award, but ya never know. It’s good to have as back-up for worst-case scenarios, and I think it’s good for a whole year.

However, the Copay Relief Fund staff told me they do NOT cover co-insurance, when right now I have about $800 worth of co-insurance bills, with $400 or more expected. Let’s hope that some financial aid comes through for the co-insurance, because that’s the greatest need. Otherwise I’m going to be paying things off monthly for a very long time.

Also, the Patient Access Network (PAN) awarded me up to $7000, but it’s for such a specific purpose that I’ll be able to access maybe 1-5% of that – it’s only for chemo infusion drugs and my health insurance already covers that. Hopefully PAN will cover the co-insurance fees for the infusions at the very least. We’ll see.

Thank goodness for the financial aid awards; wish me the best on 4 more applications: Healthwell, Sensational in Survival, Modest Needs and Providence’s own financial aid. If you have ideas of other places to apply, let me know!

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Filed under breast cancer, costs, financial assistance