Cancer treatment brings many stresses to a patient and their family, not least of which is financial. Prior research has documented the monetary challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis, including the fact that someone with cancer is 2.5 times more likely than another person from the general population to file for bankruptcy. In fact, (although there’s variation depending on cancer type), about 3% of cancer patients file for bankruptcy. These patients, in turn, are nearly 80% more likely to die than non-bankrupt cancer patients. So the repercussions from financial issues are felt far and wide.
In the latest research shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), finances were compared between a group of adults without a history of cancer and a group of similarly matched cancer survivors. Financial hardships were documented to be much more frequent among the cancer survivors, which tracks with results seen in many other studies on this topic. The younger the cancer survivor, the more likely there was to be financial challenges related to medical bills. The burden of medical debt did not just impact the pocketbook; patients reported splash-over from financial hardship into their psychological health (e.g., worries about paying the bills) and even affecting their access to medical care.
The patient financial assistance program we’ve developed at BioPlus helps patients overcome financial roadblocks to their treatment, which in turn makes financial stress and bankruptcy less likely. Our financial assistance department is a key part of our overall service of RxExpress – which makes BioPlus faster than most other specialty pharmacies for getting specialty prescriptions to patients. It starts with our 2-Hour Patient Acceptance Guarantee, which streamlines the first step of the specialty pharmacy process. Then our 2-Day Ready 2 Ship program follows close behind, which gets prescriptions ready to ship in just two days.
The financial assistance for our patients is an integral part of this entire process. Our team assists and supports patients with ways to connect with financial resources, such as foundation grants and co-pay assistance programs. Last year our team connected patients with $35 million in financial assistance. This year, we’re aiming even higher.
Zhiyuan Z, Jemal A, Han X, et al. Medical financial hardship among cancer survivors in the United States. Cancer 2019;https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.31913.