Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Just Diagnosed with Cancer? Chat with Experts

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 marcy, Community Member, asks

Q: Are there any foundations or organizations that can help me pay for my $3000 deductible for a breast

biopsy? My income has been cut in half this year. I literally have to choose between paying a bill or to eat! I really need some help. I have tried many foundations already and have been denied due to the fact that I have health insurance. They all told me that if I did not have insurance that they could have paid for anything I needed. Should I cancel my insurance? I do not know what to do....

Answer This
Answers (2)
Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
9/15/09 4:28pm

Do not cancel your insurance.  If it turns out that you do have cancer, you will have met your deductible and your treatments will be covered by your insurance.

 

Start with the social worker at the hospital where you want the biopsy done.  Explain your situation and ask about possible resources to help.  The local social worker usually has the best information about community resources.  Consider smaller groups that may be able to help you with at least part of your deductible.  Many churches, for example, have emergency funds that operate at the discretion of the pastor.  You can also talk to the billing department at the hospital and ask about setting up a payment program of small monthly payments.  This solution is not ideal if you are already having trouble meeting your basic expenses, and the hospital will probably charge some interest, but it is better than not having a biopsy done and needing more extensive treatment if you have cancer that advances to a higher stage because of the delay.

Reply
marcy, Community Member
9/16/09 4:43am

Thank you so much for your response. I think I have pretty much explained my situation to the financial advisor. I had a hard time already discussing payment arrangements for the ultra sound. I had $20 in my wallet that I saved for eggs, milk, and gas and had to give that up towards the ultra sound and the rest would be billed to me. I then aked what it would take for the biopsy and they made it clear that it required my deductible. On top of all this; the real reason why I am in so much financial ruin is due to the fact that my insurance company does not cover one cent of my 2 life savings prescriptions for allergy induced asthma. Symbicort and Singulair runs about $350; monthly... Now the church thing is probably out of the ? I lost my religion when I lost my parents; I am also gay,hispanic,single,pro-Obama; trust me-- That will not help unless I lied about myself.... That.. I cannot do..But thankyou so much!! It shows me at least that someone out there cares.. It means the world to me!!!

Reply
Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
9/16/09 5:27am

You have probably already done this, but investigating compassionate-use programs from the drug companies and/or switching to less expensive drugs for the asthma might bring you some financial relief on that front.  Even if a drug company denied your application for the compassionate use program before, they might look at it again now that you have this additional medical expense.  Both American Baptists and United Church of Christ have some congregations that have chosen to designate themselves as "welcoming and affirming" or "open and welcoming" to gay people.  I'm sure other denominations probably have the same--those are just the ones with which I am most familiar.  With the recession, those institutions are probably running low on their emergency help funds, but in almost any city there are congregations who would welcome you as you are.  I've been a member of two of them in the conservative South.  Three thousand dollars to one person is probably beyond the scope of the average church's funds, but it's an example of thinking beyond the usual health foundations as you try to find the funds for the biopsy.

Reply
marcy, Community Member
9/16/09 6:05am

I have already asked my doctor if there might be another method of treatment or relief . We have tried and nothing else compares to what helps. I have also researched many programs you speak of.. I do not qualify because they based it all on my income for 2 prior years. I am a waiter and my income fell to $450 weekly from $900 weekly this past year. The " Church thing Again" I would not even know the difference  between any religion these days!! Though I am aware of the " Lost Books Of The Bible" and " Revelations" !! I do live in Decatur, Ga. Who should I go to about religion?

 

Reply
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/15/09 8:33pm

Good advice, Phyllis. Also, Komen for the Cure gives $$ to hospitals specifically to support breast cancer treatment for women who can't afford it - not sure if it would fund a biopsy, but you could ask your hospital social workers. And, please read our post on paying for treatment when you have no insurance - although you do have insurance, you might find some useful resources there. Good luck - PJH

Reply
marcy, Community Member
9/16/09 4:56am

Thank you for your response. I sincerely appreciate it. I have tried Komen for the Cure. Same denial... I am still lost!! I have seriously tried at least 30 more.. Same!! Thanks for your concern. It is at least some kind of comfort...

Reply
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/16/09 6:17am

Marcy, just to double check, but I assume you've checked with the American Cancer Society? And the Breast Cancer Network of Strength? Bottom line - you may have to go in debt here for the biopsy and pay it off little by little... But you don't want to skip the biopsy, if the doctor says you need it.

 

This is why we need health care reform... PJH

Reply
marcy, Community Member
9/16/09 6:29am

Yes dear.. Have tried them... If I had a choice, I would go into debt. I can definetly make payments; I do not have that choice, although... The facility needs the $3000 in full.. This is why I do not know what to do. Trust me, I have burned through my heart and mind. Sleepless in Atlanta

Reply
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/16/09 8:46am

I'd go back and ask the doctor who orginally ordered the biopsy. Explain your situation, and ask him the risk of not having it - is he REALLY convinced you probably have breast cancer? Or was it a low-risk, "let's make double sure" procedure? At least you could then continue your search for help with more information.

 

I'm really sad/discouraged that none of those organizations could offer any insight - starting with your local hopsital and their social service team, which is who's supposed to help patients figure out issues like this... I'll keep thinking. PJH

Reply
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/16/09 8:48am

Do you have a credit card with a big enough limit to cover this? Or can you get one? PJH

Reply
Answer This

Important:
We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By marcy, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/27/14, First Published: 09/15/09