Legal, Financial & Insurance Help

Note: Listing here does not mean that these sources have been evaluated, approved or endorsed. This is a list of resources that has been compiled for your education.

General Suggestions for Financial Assistance: 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. These organizations are listed in your local phone directory. Some churches and synagogues may provide financial help or services to their members.

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.

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 can be obtained by contacting your state or local Department of Social Services; this number is found in the local telephone directory.

What financial questions should I ask the practitioner or his office staff?
Here are some questions to ask the practitioner or his office staff:


It can also be useful to ask which insurance plans the practitioner accepts, in case you become interested in changing plans at some point (for example, through a change of employment). If you do not have insurance coverage for treatment, and paying the full fee each time would be difficult for you, you might ask:


Does the Federal Government have resources that might help me financially with my health-related expenses?
Currently, Federal health assistance programs are not set up to assist with CAM expenses specifically. They are intended to provide either direct support (direct payments) or indirect support (such as housing or child care credits, medical care at public clinics, or other social services) to people whom the Government determines to be in need. Examples include people who:

There are Federal databases on the Internet that can introduce you to these programs. GovBenefits ( provides an overview and a self-test to help you identify whether any benefits are appropriate for your needs. FirstGov ( has information on various health-related programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. FirstGov also has a database with information on benefits for seniors,

Corporate Angel Network

A non-profit organization that arranges and coordinates flights for cancer patients using the empty seats available on corporate aircraft. Call 914-328-1313 or Website:

National Patient Travel Center

Provides information about all forms of charitable, long-distance medical air transportation and provides referrals to all appropriate sources of help available in the national charitable medical air transportation network. Website is Call the Help Line at 1-800-296-1217 for personal assistance. It is staffed live 9am to 5pm Eastern Time Monday thru Friday. After hours help is available within 10 minutes of leaving an after-hours message marked urgent.


A free nationwide service that flies qualified patients to treatment centers. Phone 877-AIR-LIFE or

Air Care Alliance

The Air Care Alliance is a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations whose volunteer pilots are dedicated to community service. This is a central listing for free air transportation services provided by volunteer pilots and charitable aviation groups. Consult the website to first see if you can solve your need for information using the listings. Then if you have additional questions send an email to or call the toll free number: 888 260-9707

Mercy Medical Airlift

MMA's mission is to facilitate a charitable means of long distance medical air transport for all medically indigent, low-income and financially vulnerable patients in our society thereby ensuring equal access to distant specialized medical treatment or to appropriate facilities and settings for continuing care. Call (800) 296-1217.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.

A non-profit organization that provides education, advocacy and legal assistance to help Medicare beneficiaries obtain necessary healthcare. Phone 860-456-7790 or

Medicaid (Medical Assistance) a jointly funded, Federal-State health insurance program for people who need financial assistance for medical expenses, is coordinated by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). At a minimum, states must provide home care services to people who receive Federal income assistance such as Social Security Income and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Medicaid coverage includes part-time nursing, home care aide services, and medical supplies and equipment. Information about coverage is available from local state welfare offices, state health departments, state social services agencies, or the state Medicaid office. Check the local telephone directory for the number to call. Information about specific state locations is also available on the HCFA Web site. Spanish-speaking staff are available in some offices. Web site:

Medicare is a Federal health insurance program also administered by HCFA. Eligible inpiduals include those who are 65 or older, people of any age with permanent kidney failure, and disabled people under age 65. Medicare may offer reimbursement for some home care services. Cancer patients who qualify for Medicare may also be eligible for coverage of hospice services if they are accepted into a Medicare-certified hospice program. To receive information on eligibility, explanations of coverage, and related publications, call Medicare at the number listed below or visit their Web site. Some publications are available in Spanish. Toll Free: 1–800–MEDICARE (1–800–633–4227) TTY (for deaf and hard of hearing callers): 1–877–486–2048 Web site:

The Center for Patient Advocacy

Provides assistance to patients for navigating the managed care health system. Phone 800-846-7444 or

Patient Advocate Foundation

A national non-profit organization that serves as a liaison between patient and insurance company to resolve matters relating to diagnosis. Offers resources such as Patient Pal, a guide to help patients with insurance issues. Call 800-532-5274 or

A Cancer Survivor’s Almanac: Charting Your Journey

This reference book from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship includes thorough and easy to understand information about public and private health insurance, survivorship issues, disability benefits, employment rights and legal and financial concerns. See next listing for order info.

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

This is the oldest survivor-led cancer advocacy organization in the country and a voice at the federal level, advocating for quality cancer care for all Americans and empowering cancer survivors. NCCS believes in evidence-based advocacy for systemic changes at the federal level in how the nation researches, regulates, finances, and delivers quality cancer care. In 2004, NCCS believes that access to credible and accurate patient information, such as NCCS’s Cancer Survival Toolbox® is key to demanding and receiving quality cancer care.

What Cancer Survivors Need to Know About Health Insurance

Provides info about health insurance and how to receive maximum reimbursement for claims. For both these publications, contact NCCS at 877-NCCS-YES or

Cancer Care, Inc. Call 800-813-HOPE or

A toll-free counseling line staffed with trained social workers who can suggest referrals for financial assistance.

The National Financial Resources Guidebook for Patients

Provides listings of Federal and State resources for obtaining financial assistance for a broad range of needs including housing, transportation, utilities, medical payments and insurance deductibles. Contact the Patient Advocate Foundation at 800-532-5274 or

National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses

Lists more than 150 guest houses in the U.S. that provide family-centered lodging and support services for patients receiving treatment far from home. Call 800-542-9730 or

Social Security Benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The Social Security Administration has two programs that pay benefits to people with disabilities:

You may be eligible for these and also food stamps and Medicaid. Call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or your local office. Website is Social Security provides a monthly income for eligible elderly and disabled inpiduals. 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 inpiduals 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.


The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a Federal-State partnership that offers low-cost or free health insurance coverage to uninsured children of low-wage, working parents. Callers will be referred to the SCHIP program in their state for further information about what the program covers, who is eligible, and the minimum qualifications. Telephone: 1–877–KIDS–NOW (1–877–543–7669). Web site:

Veterans Benefits: Eligible veterans and their dependents may receive cancer treatment at a Veterans Administration Medical Center. Treatment for service-connected conditions is provided, and treatment for other conditions may be available based on the veteran's financial need. Some publications are available in Spanish. Spanish-speaking staff are available in some offices. Telephone: 1–800–827–1000. Web site:

State Departments of Insurance or State Departments of Health

Some states sell special health insurance for people with serious medical conditions who cannot find insurance elsewhere and who are “hard to insure.” Contact your own state for more information.

The Hill-Burton Program

This is a federal program that requires participating hospitals and other facilities to provide a certain amount of free or reduced-fee care to those unable to pay. Not available at all hospitals and each hospital determines what is available. Contact your hospital or the Hill-Burton Program at 800-638-0742 or

Cancer Treatments Your Insurance Should Cover

Published by the Association of Community Cancer Centers, this brochure describes the minimum standard and investigational treatments that should be covered and what to do if reimbursement is denied. Available at

The American Cancer Society (ACS) national office can provide the telephone number of the local ACS office serving your area. The local ACS office may offer reimbursement for expenses related to cancer treatment including transportation, medicine, and medical supplies. The ACS also offers programs that help cancer patients, family members, and friends cope with the emotional challenges they face. Some publications are available in Spanish. Spanish-speaking staff are available. Telephone: 1–800–ACS–2345 (1–800–227–2345) Web site:

The AVONCares Program for Medically Underserved Women provides financial assistance and relevant education and support to low income, under- and uninsured, underserved women throughout the country in need of diagnostic and/or related services (transportation, child care, and social support) for the treatment of breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers. Telephone: 1–800–813–HOPE (1–800–813–4673). Web site:

The Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation (CCCF) is a nonprofit organization that provides information, peer support, and advocacy through publications, an information clearinghouse, and a network of local support groups. CCCF maintains a list of organizations to which eligible families may apply for financial assistance.
Telephone: 1–800–366–CCCF (1–800–366–2223).
Web site:

Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) 757–873–6668 1–800–532–5274

The PAF provides education, legal counseling, and referrals to cancer patients and survivors concerning managed care, insurance, financial issues, job discrimination, and debt crisis matters. The Patient Assistance Program is a subsidiary of the PAF. It provides financial assistance to patients who meet certain qualifications. The toll-free number is 1–866–512–3861.

Special Note --Patient Advocate Foundation's Co-Pay Relief Program (CPR): Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) announces the expansion of co-payment assistance funding for patients with Kidney Cancer or Sarcoma starting January 4, 2006. (They already provide financial assistance to eligible patients who are being treated for breast, lung and/or prostate cancers, and secondary issues as a result of chemotherapy treatment.) Additional information about the PAF Co-Pay Relief Program can be obtained by calling 866-512-3861 or visiting the website at or

Visionary Alternatives, Inc.

May provide some funding for alternative funding choices for patients with life-threatening illness who cannot afford this themselves; also provides other suggestions for reduced costs for treatment. Call toll free at 877-995-2207 or website:

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) offers information and financial aid to patients who have leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, or multiple myeloma. Callers may request a booklet describing LLS's Patient Aid Program or the telephone number for their local LLS office. Some publications are available in Spanish. Telephone: 1–800–955–4572 Web site:

LifeWise Family Financial Security, Inc.

A lending institution that offers secured no-payment loans for persons with life expectancy of five years or less, using an existing life insurance policy as collateral. If this type of arrangement is desired, inpiduals may also check with their own life insurance companies directly to see if it’s available. Phone 800-794-0090.

Alir Phone toll free: 888-599-1112 Website:

This company offers a financial option for people who already own a life insurance policy. A life settlement allows an inpidual to turn an existing policy into an asset that can be used immediately. An investment company, called a funding or provider company, can purchase a life insurance policy from an inpidual. This provides the owner of the policy with a lump sum of cash (discounted from the face amount of the policy) and the end of premium payments. In return the owner relinquishes all rights and future benefits of the policy. Online application available.

Assignable Life Assets 800-334-3211

Another company that offers early life insurance settlements, with cash settlements and cessation of premiums.

Care Credit

A flexible line of credit designed specifically for healthcare needs, providing payment for treatments over time, with no up-front payment required. It's ideal for co-payments, deductibles, and treatments not covered by insurance, such as many alternative modalities or programs. For information call 888-255-4426 or email These credit plans are only available in situations where the doctor or clinic participates in the Care Credit program.

Personal Finance Solutions

Offers loans and lines of credit for patients, can be used where insurance leaves off, for elective procedures, or for holistic treatments not covered by insurance.

Be Prepared: The Complete Financial, Legal and Practical Guide for Living With a Life-Challenging Condition by David S. Landay.

Although not cancer-specific, this book offers excellent easy to understand and practical guidance.