Cancer of the esophagus affects approximately 17,290 people in the United States, and it causes 15,850 deaths per year.
With esophageal cancer treatment costs through the roof, many patients are concerned about how they can afford to pay for care, and are getting into mounds of debt because of it. In a survey by LIVESTRONG, over 50% of cancer survivors had at least $10,000 worth of debt as a result of their cancer treatment costs. Getting esophageal cancer financial assistance is possible for most people to avoid the stress of funding your treatments.
Dealing with esophageal cancer can be physically, emotionally, and financially painful. If you are dealing with financial stress related to your esophageal cancer, we at American Life Fund are here to help.
We regularly work with patients to help them financially, which is why we put together this comprehensive list of financial assistance and free money available for esophageal cancer patients.
Here are 6 of the best resources for patients to get free money and financial assistance.
Financial Assistance For Esophageal Cancer Patients Type #1: Your Life Insurance Policy pays YOU (through a Viatical Settlement)
Anyone struggling with a severe medical condition knows that health insurance doesn’t cover all costs. In the United States, even with government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, you may still face significant out-of-pocket expenses.
However, what most people don’t know is that a life insurance policy is considered an asset that you own, meaning insurance policy holders can sell their life insurance for a lump-sum cash payment, also known as a viatical settlement.
With a viatical settlement, the funds are tax-free and non-regulated, meaning YOU decide how they are spent.
Not only can you pay towards your medical expenses that health insurance can’t cover, but also towards the cost of living expenses, or even a luxurious vacation with your loved ones. As the settlement holder, the freedom and the choice is uniquely yours!
In some cases, individuals can receive 70% of their life insurance policy in as little as 2 weeks with a viatical settlement!
How it works: Unlike life settlements, viatical settlements are designed for life insurance policyholders with life-threatening illnesses, reduced life expectancies, or chronic health issues.
Patients with life insurance policies can enter agreements with third- party buyers to sell their policy in return for a lump-sum payment (more than the cash value of the policy, but less than the death benefit).
The life settlement company takes over by paying the monthly insurance policy premiums, and receives the death benefit after the seller’s passing.
If you’re considering selling your life insurance policy, American Life Fund is here to help. For us, the most important thing is alleviating the financial burden associated with esophageal cancer care, reducing stress, and enabling you to spend more time on the things that matter.
Through our hassle-free application process, American Life Fund will help you get an immediate cash offer for your insurance policy.
Financial Assistance Type #2: Esophageal Cancer-Specific Financial Grants
There are a multitude of organizations that offer free money to patients. This type of financial assistance is known as an esophageal cancer-specific financial grant.
While some grants are generalized and open to applicants with all cancer types, others are specific to esophageal cancer. The best place to search for financial grants you may qualify for is online and through your local nonprofit organizations.
When looking online, try searching for “esophageal cancer financial grants”, as well as the more general but still applicable “cancer financial grants”. The best part about cancer financial grants is that they are free money, and don’t come with strings attached.
Although it can be time-consuming to locate grants, the time invested can pay for itself. When it comes to financial grants, the most challenging part is locating an organization that still has funding available. Don’t be discouraged–remember, persistence is key and resources are out there.
The following organizational funds offer financial assistance in the form of grants to patients in need:
- PAF Copay Relief Fund for Esophageal Cancer (available to patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare only)
- HNC Living Assistance Fund
- American Cancer Society Fund
- National Cancer Assistance Foundation Fund (patients in the following states are not eligible: AR, IA, MI, OR)
Also check out these great resources:
- Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (this is a tool that connects cancer patients with financial assistance resources, based on geographic location and diagnosis)
- Triage Cancer (this organization maintains a long running list of financial assistance resources for cancer patients)
Financial Assistance Type #3: Utility Assistance
When juggling finances to pay for cancer care, every little bit helps.
Utility assistance is payment provided to help cover the cost of utilities within a home, including payment for home energy costs, rent, bills, and any necessary energy repairs.
Utility assistance helps esophageal cancer patients by taking some of the financial burden off of your shoulders, and allowing you the ability to focus more on investing in your treatment.
Programs such as the LIHEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) offer utility assistance to low-income households, as well as to those experiencing crises. The contact information for this resource differs from state to state, so be sure to check the website.
Additionally, Family Reach and Stomp the Monster provide emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities, and home repairs, and Cleaning for a Reason offers 2 free home cleanings to esophageal cancer patients.
You can also call “211” to locate additional local utility assistance programs for esophageal cancer patients in need.
Financial Assistance Type #4: Prescription Assistance
With the cost of cancer medications rising, many patients feel concerned about how to afford treatment.
Thankfully, programs like PPA (Partnerships for Prescription Assistance) and Rx Outreach can help by providing free money to esophageal cancer patients, in the form of free or reduced cost prescriptions.
Their easy to use online websites provide a list of multiple prescription assistance programs that you may qualify for as an esophageal cancer patient.
Another resource offering financial assistance for esophageal cancer patients is Needy Meds. Needy Meds offers a free Drug Discount Card, which provides savings of up to 80% on prescription medications.
If a medication is not covered by your insurance, or if your insurance has a high deductible, fear not–you can use your Drug Discount Card to help pay for prescriptions.
Also, the Medicine Assistance Tool can help esophageal cancer patients to locate additional resources for prescription assistance.
Financial Assistance Type #5: Gift Certificates, Gas Cards, and More
When dealing with esophageal cancer, the last thing you should have to worry about is the price of gas; however, as trips to treatment centers increase, so does the cost of transportation. Gas can be EXPENSIVE (especially if you live somewhere like California)– so why pay for it if you don’t have to?
Tenaciously Teal is a great organization that helps esophageal cancer patients by providing gift cards for both gas and groceries, respectively. The Cancer Card Xchange also provides gift cards, so keep an eye out for their open application period.
Additionally, NeedyMeds and Mercy Medical Angels offer financial assistance for medical transportation and necessary travel expenses.
If you like freebies (because who doesn’t?), Phil’s Friends and Radiant Hope are two organizations that offer assistance in the form of a cancer care package, which contains self-care freebies for those battling esophageal cancer.
Financial Assistance Type #6: Fundraising
One of the quickest, easiest ways to supplement financial assistance for esophageal cancer patients is fundraising. With a little upfront investment of your time and a good social network, fundraising can be an effective tool for harnessing financial funds.
Online fundraising platforms such as GoFundMe, allow you to post your need/cause and share that need/cause with others. However, the downside is that you only receive a portion of the funds raised.
A second method of fundraising worth considering–and from which you’ll get to keep all profits– is known as a personal fundraiser. With this type– you, your friends, and your family raise funds by offering something to the community, such as a bake sale or car wash, for example. Feel free to check out MedGift Advocacy Services for a whole list of fundraising ideas.
What Patients Can Expect Financially
An esophageal cancer diagnosis is never easy, especially when that diagnosis turns into a financial burden.
In order to try to avoid financial distress, it is important to understand the costs associated with treating esophageal cancer.
When battling with esophageal cancer, some of your largest expenses are likely to come from the following: doctor visits, treatment, medication, and transportation/travel.
Doctor Visit Costs: If you’re insured, you’ll likely only have to pay a copay per visit to your doctor; the copay is usually a small fraction of the total overall cost for the visit. If you’re uninsured, you’ll pay more.
Treatment Costs: The primary method of treatment for patients with esophageal cancer is surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, and sometimes part of the esophagus and stomach. If the cancer has progressed further along, radiation and chemotherapy will also be necessary. For this reason, the extent and duration of your treatment will have a direct impact on the financial costs incurred–in other words, the more treatment needed, the more it is likely to cost you.
Medication Costs: While being treated for esophageal cancer, there are certain medications you’ll need to take. Also, if you’re actively undergoing chemotherapy, that’s another crucial cost you’ll need to consider when opting for financial assistance for treatment.
Transportation/Travel Costs: If you’re being treated for esophageal cancer at a facility that is not near your home, you’ll be met with the added financial stress of paying for gas and/or the costs of public transportation to get to and from your appointments.
Sounds like a lot? The good news is, help is always available–and you deserve it, no matter what your financial situation is. To learn more about how we help patients financially, contact us at American Life Fund today!
Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Assistance for Esophageal Cancer Patients
What benefits are esophageal cancer patients entitled to?
If you are an American citizen struggling with esophageal cancer, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits. The more aggressive the cancer, the more qualified you are likely to be.
Can you get financial help if you have esophageal cancer?
Yes, you can get financial help if you have esophageal cancer. You can get everything from help with prescriptions, lower utility bills, free wigs, grants, viatical settlements and much, much more.
How can I get money for esophageal cancer treatment?
Grants, crowdfunding, and disability benefits are some other ways you can get money for esophageal cancer treatment. Additionally, viatical or life settlements (where you sell your insurance policy for a lump sum of cash), can be a great option to get money for esophageal cancer treatment.
Does stage 4 esophageal cancer qualify for disability?
Stage 4 patients typically will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. If you have stage 4 esophageal cancer, there is also a good chance you will qualify for a viatical settlement.
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