Coping with Health Care Costs: Resources

CURE, Fall 2007, Volume 6, Issue 5

Information and help with medical bills, healthcare costs, drugs and co-payments.

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The Patient Advocate Foundation, www.patientadvocate.org, phone (800) 532-5274, is a national nonprofit organization with professional case managers who provide mediation services for patients regarding access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability. Program partners include Co-Pay Relief, (866) 512-3961, www.copays.org, which provides direct co-payment assistance for pharmaceutical products to insured Americans who financially and medically qualify; EmergingMed.com, www.EmergingMed.com, a free and confidential cancer clinical trial matching and referral service; and CancerCare, (800) 813-4673, www.CancerCare.org, a national nonprofit organization that provides free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer.

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RX Assist, www.rxassist.org, is a database of patient assistance programs run by pharmaceutical companies to provide free medications to people who cannot afford to buy their medicine. To qualify for these programs, individuals generally must have incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty level (meaning income below $27,380 for a family of two people). A retirement calculator developed by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, at www.choosetosave.org, gives a ballpark estimate of how much savings you will need for retirement based on your individual profile.

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The Medicare Rights Center, www.MedicareRights.org, telephone (800) 333-4114, is the largest independent source of healthcare information and assistance in the U.S. for people with Medicare. Its Part D Appeals Project provides assistance to people whose Medicare prescription drug plans have denied them coverage for the drugs they need. For more information, call (888) 466-9050.