Financial Aid Options for Mounting Cancer Student Loan Debt

Getting Financial Help For Cancer Treatments

Guest blog written by Michael Monheit

Illustration by Aniela McGuinness

Illustration by Aniela McGuinness

A cancer diagnosis is shocking on its own and in that moment the thoughts of treatment are running through your mind. But what is not going through your mind at that time is the cost of those treatments and where to get financial help when it's so desperately needed. points out that even patients with health insurance cannot be promised treatment options that they can afford. Fortunately, there are a number of programs that have been created to help cancer patients pay for their treatments.

Cancer Treatment Payment Options

Milder forms of cancer can come up to almost $5,000 in early treatment stages and can increase to over $2,000 in continuing treatment fees. As already stated, health insurance may not always be the best form of coverage for these payments. Below are some places and organizations to seek cancer treatment financial assistance.

Government Options
There are government programs (such as the Social Security Administration and the US Department of Health and Human Services) that offer help in the form of entitlements. Entitlements are mainly aimed at low-income homes, those who are disabled and the elderly. It may be worth finding out if you qualify for assistance with your healthcare bills. It is worth noting that treatments are likely to affect your earning capacity, and under some government programs you may be eligible for extra help with your income.

Local Services And Foundations
There a variety of local service organizations and foundations that provide financial aid (in the form of grants) to cover treatment expenses and others that provide services such as transportation or medication. Some of these organizations include:

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
The society's mission is to fight and cure blood cancers while working to improve the lives of those suffering. Financial assistance from the society comes in the form of their patient financial aid program. The program offers limited financial help to individuals suffering from blood cancer (e.g., lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myelomas) who need financial assistance.

HealthWell Foundation
The HealthWell Foundation is an independent, non-business entity that helps insured patients who are suffering from chronic, life-threatening diseases and are unable to afford their medications. Assistance comes in the form of prescription drugs that create out-of-pocket expenses, co-pays, deductibles, drug co-insurances and health care insurance premiums.

The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition
The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition is a coalition of financial assistance organizations whose mission is to help cancer patients manage their financial challenges. The directory of member organizations can be found here.

CancerCare provides limited financial assistance for cancer-related costs such as transportation and child cares costs. They provide home care and child care for women with all kinds of diagnoses, children with all diagnoses and men and women with metastatic melanoma. They also provide medications for men and women with breast cancer.

Patient Advocate Foundation’s Colorectal Careline
This foundation is specifically created to provide assistance to patients who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and need education and access to care. They provide:

-Direct appeals assistance
-Educational resources, including financial resource information
-Facilitate referrals to appropriate co-payments programs
-Help with networking for patients to all known local, state and/or national resources for financial assistance
-Case management services to uninsured patients

Illustration by Aniela McGuinness

Illustration by Aniela McGuinness

Pharmaceutical Help Programs

If medications are included in your treatment plan, pharmaceutical programs are good to look into as they help make the medicines needed more affordable. The programs can help with insurance reimbursement, co-pay costs, free or discounted medication among other things. The type of help your receive is going to be case specific. For a full list of pharmaceutical assistance programs and drug companies offering financial assistance, visit or call the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (or PPA) at 1-888-477-2669.

The information above is not exhaustive. Below are other organizations that are worth looking further into for financial assistance:

Lymphoma Research Foundation

National Marrow Donor Program

Sarcoma Alliance

Nonprofit Programs for Co-Pay relief

Good Days

National Organization for Rare Disorders

Patient Access Network Foundation

Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program

Patient Services Incorporated

Author Bio:
Michael Monheit is the managing partner for Monheit Law. He has over 20 years of experience as an attorney and is a sponsoring member of where he provides free legal consultations to cancer patients.