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Cancer imposes heavy economic burdens on both patients and their families. For many people, a part of medical expenses is compensated by their health insurance plan. For individuals who do not have health insurance or who need financial assistance to cover health care costs, resources are available, including Government-sponsored programs and services supported by voluntary organizations. Cancer patients and their families should talk about any concerns they may have about health care costs with their physician, medical social worker, or the business office of their hospital or clinic. Many organizations may offer a financial assistance to an individual who badly needs to cover their health care costs. Like Social Security Administration (SSA), Medicaid, General Assistance, Fundraising, Community Voluntary Agencies and Service Organizations, etc. The description of each of these organizations follows.

Social Security Administration is the Government agency that administers Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare. More information about these and other SSA programs is available by contacting or visiting their local office near you.

Social Security provides a monthly income for eligible elderly and disabled individuals. Information on eligibility, coverage, and how to apply for benefits is available from the Social Security Administration. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) supplements Social Security payments for individuals who have certain income and resource levels. SSI is administered by the Social Security Administration. Information on eligibility, coverage, and how to file a claim is available from the Social Security Administration. Medicare is a Federal health insurance program for those who receive Social Security benefits. Eligible individuals include those who are 65 or older; people of any age with permanent kidney failure, and disabled people under age 65 who have received Social Security payments for at least 24 months. To receive information eligibility, explanations of coverage, and to enroll, call the Social Security Administration or visit their website.

Medicaid (Medical Assistance) provides health insurance for low income and poor people who are elderly, blind, or disabled as well as for certain groups of children. Services are coordinated by state or local government through the Department of Social Services or the Social Security Administration.

General Assistance programs provide food, housing, prescription drugs, and other medical expenses for those who are not eligible for other programs. Funds are often limited. Information regarding these programs can be obtained by contacting your state or local Department of Social Services.

Fundraising is another mechanism to consider. Some patients find that friends, family, and community members are willing to contribute financially if they are aware of a difficult situation. Contact your local library for information about how to organize fundraising efforts.

Community Voluntary Agencies and Service Organizations such as the Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Social Services, Catholic Charities, and the Lions Club may offer help. Some churches and synagogues may provide financial help or services to their members.

You may want more information for yourself, your family, and your doctor. These organizations and services are available to help you.

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