Get Financial Assistance For Cancer Patients In 10 Days- Free Action Plan
With the average cost of medical expenses amounting to thousands of dollars, cancer patients in Australia can have a difficult time paying their medical bills on time if not at all.
Although there are many options to get financial assistance for cancer patients, getting financial assistance is easier said than done. Many cancer patients in fact can be flooded with medical bills and unexpected medical expenses. Taking care of their wellbeing as well as attending to appointments and treatment should be a main priority. As a result, the financial cost of cancer can often be overlooked. This can an overwhelming experience when you realize you are unable to pay for treatment.
To help, we’ve come up with a 10 day action plan to help you get on the right track in finding and getting financial assistance for your cancer expenses. This is a free resource to give you a step by step guide on how to get financial assistance.
Day 1: Review Your Current Finances
The first step before approaching anyone about your circumstances is to understand your current finances. Reviewing your household expenses, living costs and any other expenses that occur every month can help you work out your out going costs generally.
This includes food, rent, utilities and child care costs. You should then know when your income comes into your bank account, your current savings and any other debt you may have. Create an excel sheet to easily keep track of your money. If you start to feel overwhelmed, seek professional advice and assistance about how to better manage your money. There are free and paid options available.
Apart from knowing your income and outgoing costs, you should review your previous medical bills. Reviewing medical bills can help you determine your average monthly costs for cancer treatment and foresee any upcoming costs that may be billed shortly.
Having an understanding of these expenses and costs can help you see where your money is going and how much you require each month to pay for your treatment.
Day 2: Evaluate What You Need
Starting the process for financial assistance can be an overwhelming process. It can be hard to pinpoint where to begin and which direction is best for your circumstance.
It is important therefore, to reflect on the following questions in order to understand what financial assistance you are looking for and what you really need. This will help create the foundation to your plan and help guide you to find the most appropriate options for financial assistance available.
1. What do you intend using the funds for?
How you intend to use the funds directly affects the type of financial assistance programs you can apply for. For example, there are financial assistance programs available that will allow you to use the funds only transportation costs, or for purchasing specific drugs and medication.
These questions will not only give you an indication of what exactly you want to use the funds for, but give you a clear reason why you need financial assistance.
2. Are you looking for short term financial assistance or long term financial assistance?
Short term financial assistance often provided by non-profit organizations and charities are great for patients who only require short term assistance. If you however are struggling with medical bills or have a larger annual cost for treatment, then long term financial assistance may be more suitable.
3. When do you require financial help?
Knowing your own deadlines of when you need to pay for things is important. Some financial assistance programs can provide ongoing support but will require longer processes for approval. This means you will most likely have an amount of time where you may not be able to cover your medical expenses.
Day 3: Research Your Financial Assistance Options
You will need time to complete the research of available financial assistance options as there are a range of options available. To make it easier, search through financial assistance options available only to cancer patients. As many will not be applicable to you or may not suit your needs, you should cross reference the requirements to ensure that these financial assistance options are available nearby and that you are eligible to apply.
You can also use your answers from the first day to review whether a program or service is useful to you. This is a great guideline to help you go through all the options available without feeling overwhelmed in the process. This could be whether you are eligible for the program, your deadlines, intended use and your household income status.
You can check for financial assistance options online and make a list of any that are suitable for your needs.
Day 4: Narrow Down Your Options And Get Your Documentation Ready
Consider the restrictions and availability of the financial assistance to determine the best options. Some non-profit organizations provide financial assistance upon availability of funding. Simply call and ask if the program is available and if you would be a suitable candidate. While other programs may only be available in select locations or states. Select a few of the best options and prepare for your application accordingly.
Documentation such as your current finances, savings, any paid or unpaid medical bills and photocopies of your identification are generally required when applying for any type of financial assistance.
In most circumstances you will need time to find the right documentation that can help prove your need for financial assistance and also verify your identification. This is particularly the case for financial assistance from non-profit organizations, government programs and even drug assistance programs.
You may also require to contact social services, your doctor or other bodies to provide you with documentation. This can take some time.
The first thing you should do is go through the financial assistance options you are intended to apply for. Make a list of the time of documentation you require and mark down whether it is a photocopy or whether you need the original.
Make appropriate amounts of copies of each as required and set them aside according to the financial assistance option.
Day 5: Submit Your Financial Assistance Applications
Many of the options for financial assistance for cancer patients can take days up to months to be reviewed and approved. Many financial assistance programs are given according to first come first serve basis. It is important therefore to start the application process as soon as possible.
Some applications can be made over the internet through an online form, while others may require you to come in person to their office. Work down your list of applications in order to get the best options submitted first.
Expect to allocate time in the following weeks for any face to face meetings or appointment you may be required to attend. Some financial assistance programs require patients to have an interview process to double check their documentation.
Day 6: Create And Launch Your Free Medical Fundraiser Online With PeoplePledge
While you are awaiting for the results of your applications to financial assistance programs, you can also create an online medical fundraiser for free.
PeoplePledge, offers individuals the ability to create and run a fundraiser online completely for free. There are administration costs that you will have to consider paying out of pocket.
A medical fundraiser can help you raise funds for your medical expenses instantly through your own networks. This is a great option to ensure that you do not rely heavily on the financial assistance programs you are applying for in case you are denied or in case the process takes longer than expected.
Upon creating your fundraising page, you will need to write your story that shares your medical journey so far. This helps a supporter to understand what your fundraising page is about, where the funds are going and how much a donation will impact your life.
Photos can also help bring your fundraising page to life. Consider sourcing photos of you and your family and friends that may be appropriate for your fundraising page. If you have any photos of yourself in hospital or receiving treatment, these are also great photos to add.
When you are happy with your fundraising page, you can launch it on the same day. Once your fundraising page is live, you will be given a URL link that you can start sharing on your social networks to your friends and family.
Day 7: Speak With Your Doctor
Now that you’ve taken the necessary steps to get you financial assistance, you can speak with your doctor on how you can reduce the cost of your medical bills. Finding alternative medication or non-branded drugs for example, are great ways to reduce the cost without having to forgo medication entirely.
Being open with your doctor and medical provider can ensure that you are able to pay for your medical bills without compromising your health and treatment course.
If your financial assistance options take longer than expected to process, you can also speak with your doctor about arranging an a better payment plan that you can easily manage according to your current finances.
Start negotiating the cost of appointments, tests and other items that your medical provider may be able to reduce. If you are not confident in negotiating your medical bills, you can also seek professional help.
Day 8: Check Your Health Insurance
Many health insurance providers will also have their own terms and conditions of use. This means that you may be entitled to coverage that allows you to pay a smaller portion of your medical expenses, rather than paying them in full.
Knowing what you are entitled to is the first step to ensure that you get the most out of your health insurance and therefore, minimize the cost of your medical bills.
If you do not have medical insurance, look into getting assistance from low cost health insurance providers. One example is Medicare that provides health coverage even with pre-existing conditions like cancer.
Day 9: Update Your Fundraising Page Daily
As your fundraising page continues to receive donations, ensure that you update your page daily. This can be sharing photos, posting an update and saying thanks to individuals who have given you support.
Many fundraisers who take the time to update daily or weekly, have a better chance of receiving donations than fundraisers that do not. The more active and open you are, the more likely you are able to receive more donations and support from friends and family.
You can even prepare a fundraising event in the near future. This can be a small scale event such as a community dinner at the local restaurant, or perhaps an auction with goods donated from local businesses in your area. Giving something in exchange of donation can also help entice new supporters in your local community.
Day 10: Review Your Medical Bills And Followup Your Applications
Lastly, you should always check your incoming medical bills. Part of seeking financial assistance effectively is your ability to manage any incoming funding available to cover your costs.
Checking your medical bills for duplicates or errors can help reduce your medical expenses. If you have any uncertainty, go through your medical bill with the billing department directly.
Staying on top of your applications is important. During appointments or days where you are busy, you may have received miss calls or were not able to attend to your application. Make sure you keep updated on your progress with your financial assistance applications.