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High costs of health care: Plano charity helps those with chronic diseases, cancer

 
 

PSCFor those with chronic diseases and ongoing cancer treatments, the cost of purchasing the necessary medications can be high, affecting more than just the patient’s health.

When Everett Winters, a Plano resident, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting the bone marrow, he was unsure if he would even survive the treatment he had to go through. However, after successfully undergoing treatment, he found that there were new issues that he faced: the high cost of medication.

“If you were to see me [now] … I think you’d be amazed that after having these treatments over the past two years, you would not  recognized me; my hair is back, and my wife and I are so thankful and blessed,” Winters said.

Winters found that his treatment was going to cost him about $16,000 every four months, or about $48,000 a year. And while insurance and Medicare helped to cover some of the cost, it did not do enough to help the retired 80-year-old. Outside help came from a Plano-based nonprofit called Good Days from CDF (GDCDF), formerly known as the Chronic Disease Fund.

Founded in 2003, the nonprofit helps patients cover the costs of their medication by working closely with pharmacies that provided the medications, and sometimes directly with patients’ doctors. According to GDCDF statistics, the organization was able to help nearly 120,000 patients last year, and since its inception has provided about $1 billion to help cover the costs of residents long-term treatments across the country.

“The patients with chronic diseases or cancer, treatment became very costly and many patients were having to make very difficult choices … many aspects of their lives were being affected … it’s not only affecting you physically, but also mentally and emotionally, … it effects your whole family,” said GDCDF Executive Director Clorinda Walley.

According to Walley, the average annual income of the patients the organization helps is a broad range, and that even residents with high incomes can often find it difficult to afford treatment. In most cases, patients can simply reach out to the organization for help. In others, such as Winters’ case, the organization reached out to him.

“They contacted me, and asked if they could be supportive of me in a financial way,” Winters said. “They have been absolutely marvelous and supportive … they make you understand that they are there, and you are important, and your recovery is so important.”

Much of the GDCDF’s funds come from public donations, Walley said. In addition to providing financial aid, the organization in some cases will even provide transportation and lodging assistants to patients, if they have a treatment that is far away and will require them to stay overnight.

“You don’t know us, until you need us,” Walley said. “We’ll continue as long as we see the need in this country continue to grow.”

Read the full story at Plano Star Courier.

12 Comments
  • Is their a fund for assisting a co-pay for the drug Fareston? Medicare Part D has a donut hole which I fall into very quickly. There is no generic drug. I take it because of my metastatic breast cancer. This drug lessens the pain and joint pain that I experienced with some of the other anti estrogens medications. If there is assistance, is there an income ceiling? I have not been able to locate any coupons or assistance as long as I have medicare part D. My out of pocket cost for Fareston in December was around $563 for a 30 day supply; because of the gap known as the donut hole.

    • Darleen,

      Thank you for contact us. We do cover Fareston for metastatic breast cancer. A patient care specialist from Good Days will be reaching out to you soon. However, you may also call us at your convenience at 1-877-968-7233 to speak with a specialist. Have a good day!

  • I have had MS for over 16 years now and it appears to be getting worse. My neurologist wants to start me on the oral drug AUBAGIO. My co-pay would be over $1600 per month for a 28 day supply. Is there anyone or foundation that can help with the copay on this drug?

    • Maryann,

      Thank you for contact us. We do cover AUBAGIO for MS. A patient care specialist from Good Days will be reaching out to you soon. However, you may also call us at your convenience at 1-877-968-7233 to speak with a specialist. Have a good day!

  • I when to the Providence pharmacy to do my first diabetes refill and my medication and the cast $650.00 to do the refill I can’t find that kind of money..now my medication is finish can someone help me pleased….

  • I need some assistance with the cost of Zytiga. I have metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. I have Medicare but the co-pay is $2000 for this drug. I have not been able to start treatment because of this large amount required for only a small supply. I’m 80 years old and on a fixed income. Any assistance I can get from this foundation will be appreciated.

  • My husband and I were disabled from a car accident 14 years ago. Injuries led to surgeries which also led to general health issues. We are both on oxygen and require multiple medications. I can give you the entire list of diagnoses if you would like to have it. We have just gone into the donut hole and found that the meds. we need for pain will cost us $400 month, simply money not there. Last year, same plan, same meds we were able to get both meds for under $100. So this year it’s doubled. Cost of the medication went up slightly from last year by approx.$55. The negotiated price at the pharmacy has gone up very little. I cannot understand why our co-pay in the donut hole went from less than $100/mo for each of us up to approx. $200/mo for each of us….$400 dollars. We cannot stop these medications because of the severe withdrawal we would face. Our pain prescriptions are waiting at the pharmacy to pick up and we will be out of the medication shortly and we’re in a slight panic. We both get a SS disability ck. each month, have Medicare insurance, and pay for a Part D plan but as you can see it’s just not enough. The morphine we take is the ONLY sustained released generic pain medications (we’ve tried to find other, cheaper meds. but they’re just not there so we’re stuck. Do you have any suggestions for us?

  • My husband has stage 4 lung cancer and COPD. HE is now in the dough hole with his meds and the price has gone up to $150 for his Adair and spriva which we can’t afford. Between his medical problems and my MS it is hard to get his meds

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