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Family Reach’s Financial Treatment Program Can Help You Manage Cancer-Related Financial Toxicity

Written by: Stevie Snow, Marketing Coordinator at Family Reach 

“A cancer diagnosis is financially toxic to a family. You can’t be ashamed to ask for help upon the initial diagnosis because it can help you in the long run,” shared Tracy Brown, mom of a young cancer hero.

Tracy is speaking from her experience with Cancer-Related Financial Toxicity (CRFT), which refers to the financial barriers that accompany a cancer diagnosis.

Financial burdens of cancer affect nearly all patients

While some are at a higher risk than others, CRFT can affect virtually any patient, no matter their insurance or savings. In fact, 58% of patients say cancer significantly impacts them financially, according to the Cancer Experience Registry developed by the Cancer Support Community.

While medical bills pile up, patients and caregivers are often forced to stop working because of treatment demands. This is in addition to the everyday necessities that come with a price tag – like groceries, car payments, and electricity. Suddenly, the math doesn’t add up as outgoing costs far outweigh the incoming numbers.

The growing stack of unpaid bills and dips in finances burden families with unimaginable decisions. Some cut back on basics to pay for cancer care, forfeiting groceries for chemotherapy, for instance. Adding to college or retirement savings is no longer an option. Others skip treatment or medication doses because of financial concerns. In severe cases, patients miss too many mortgage payments and face the reality of losing their home.

No matter the level of CRFT you face, you’re not alone. There’s no shame in experiencing financial hardships caused by cancer. For most patients, the odds of avoiding steep out-of-pocket costs during treatment are, sadly, not in their favor from the moment of diagnosis. However, resources from organizations like Family Reach are there to help you before you reach critical financial breaking points.

Family Reach’s Financial Treatment Program

Family Reach’s Resource Navigators work with patients and their oncology care team to identify their deepest financial needs and determine how the organization can best support them, whether it be pairing them with a pro-bono financial planner, covering a bill, or both. Family Reach also has partnerships with companies like Zipcar and Hilton, which can provide free transportation and homes away from home during treatment.

1. Navigation Services

Family Reach connects patients to resources that can reduce costs associated with cancer treatment through their team of in-house navigators who communicate directly with patients, caregivers, and oncology care teams. They follow a three-step process:

  1. Complete a financial needs assessment.
  2. Match patient needs to resources.
  3. Refer patients to the appropriate resources.

If you need financial support, review Family Reach’s eligibility guidelines.

2. Financial Planning

Developed in partnership with the Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), Family Reach’s Financial Planning for Cancer program pairs cancer patients and their families with pro-bono Certified Financial Planner™ professionals to help with money management during cancer treatment. By adding a financial expert to your care team, you can optimize your financial situation for free and finally gain the peace of mind you need to focus on healing. Here are the quick facts on the program:

  • The Financial Planning for Cancer program is entirely free for patients.
  • Get matched with a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) inas little as two business days.
  • Every CFP® completes training on the unique needs of cancer patients before receiving a match.
  • Meet with your financial planner three or more times to develop a game plan that works best for you.
  • Talk with your planner by phone, email, or in-person.
  • Learn how to negotiate debt, leverage budgeting tactics, optimize insurance options, and reallocate funds for your current needs.

3. Financial Assistance

If the financial hardships of cancer are making it hard to pay your bills every month, Family Reach might be able to help you with your everyday living expenses. These non-medical costs include rent or mortgage payments, utilities, gas or other transportation expenses, groceries, and so on. Find out if you’re eligible for direct financial assistance and submit your application here.

Get started with The Financial Treatment Program

If you or someone you know is in need of financial support or simply wants to learn more, you can get in touch with Family Reach by going to their website or calling them directly at 973-394-1411. You can also speak with your hospital care team, as they can submit a request to Family Reach on your behalf.

Don’t wait until you reach critical financial breaking points to lean on the resources Family Reach offers. The sooner you reach out for the help, the better your chances of overcoming the financial side effects of your diagnosis.

Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org