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More Links/Suggestions For Multiple Myeloma Patients Who Need Help…

Home/More Links/Suggestions For Multiple Myeloma Patients Who Need Help…

More Links/Suggestions For Multiple Myeloma Patients Who Need Help…

Monday I started a series about sources of patient financial aid.

I have been promising some helpful tips and links to a variety of sources, large and small. I have already written about two Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) programs, American Cancer Society options, the Chronic Relief Fund and CancerCare’s Door to Door travel expense reimubursent program.  Here are leads for some other possible sources which might help:
Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program
The Air Care Alliance (Sources of free flights for treatment)
The Patient Advocate Foundation
Lotsa Helping Hands can help you stay organized and connect you with volunteers willing to help transport you to appointments, cook meals, etc.
Cleaning For A Reason helps women (only women, for some reason… Like a single dad with cancer doesn’t need help with his kids?) with household chores at no charge
IMF’s comprehensive list of patient assistance organizations, including groups which analyze your bills to help save money, aid paying insurance premiums and links to drug company patient assistance programs
Some groups require finacial disclosure and have income and/or asset limits.  Some don’t.  This is definitely a good news/bad news type of thing.  Yes, there is money and other forms of aid available to multiple myeloma patients and caregivers.  But it is a lot of work to get things organized!
For example, I am on Social Security disibility.  When I combine my SSDI with my wife, Pattie’s monthy income, we are about $600 short.  I consider part of my “job” finding assistance to help close that gap–and I must admit I’m not doing a very good job! 
I am fortunate this “gap” is so small, primarily due to my wife’s excellent Cigna insurance through her employer.  We were formerly self employed, so this is a new, mostly positive experience for us. 
In prior years, our combined monthly insurance premiums totalled well over $1000 a month.
Time consuming, frustrating–and you need to be organized and follow-up.  So far I have been able to contribute (save) around $100 a month this way.  But we were just approved for the LLS co-pay program, up to $10,000 a year.  But like I have written previously, this doesn’t cover diagnostics–which are a large part of my out-of-pocket expense. 
But I will have to earn the $1500 or so of yearly qualified expenses with LLS.  They require a seperate report (by fax) for each and every bill.  I haven’t even started yet, and the program is retroactive back to July or August.  Sort of like putting off doing your taxes.
Still, when I’m done that will cut my $600 responsibility down another $100 or so.  I make up the difference with a few freelance writing jobs, along with some media work, speaking fees and book sales.
But if my medical expenses or insurance premiums were higher–like in the past–or if I didn’t have insurance, the impact of these available programs would be much, much greater.

My advice is to get started right away.  Don’t put it off.  Budget an hour or two a day and start to learn about what is available and what needs to be done.  Ask friends, your caregiver or family members to help.  Maybe the grandkids? 

Guess I (we) had better get to work!  Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat