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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Financial Assistance Ideas

Several people wrote in to weigh in on financial assistance ideas. If you have additional ideas, please leave a comment on this entry and I will be glad to update!

Here is what we have compiled:

1. Medicaid (source varies by state)

2. Medicare (source varies by state)

3. Food Stamps (source varies by state)

4. Disability (source varies by state)

5. WOMEN'S HEALTH (recommended by Teresa) - offers award-winning comprehensive websites that provide reliable, accurate, commercial-free information on the health of women.

6. SSI (source varies by state)

7. NEEDYMEDS.ORG (recommended by Carrie) - for help with cheaper drugs, low cost clinics, low cost cat scans/MRIs.

8. RX OUTREACH (recommended by Carrie) - list of medicines to help people with costs regardless of insurance, just based on income.

9. Negotiating the contract rate with insurance (recommended by Carrie) - insurance companies have a special, contracted rate with certain hospitals. You can usually negotiate a 15-25% payoff amount.

10. "OBAMACARE" (recommended by Rebecca) - new rules on pre-exisiting conditions.

11. VERMONT CHRONIC CARE INITIATIVE (recommended by Katie) - VCCI focuses on the whole person. Registered nurses and medical social workers encourage healthy behaviors and help with related issues such as housing, food security, and transportation to medical appointments. They help beneficiaries talk with their health care providers and may meet with both to develop and support a plan of care.

12. Your Community (recommended by Jen) - "our community stepped up and helped us. They donated enough $$ and supplies to get us through a year of out of pocket medical can do fundraisers, benefits."

13. The Health Department (recommended by Tammi) - your local health department prices based on a sliding scale of income. They may be able to do free blood work and help you until you're able to get on your feet.

14. DISABILITY TAX CREDIT IN CANADA (recommended by Alain) - in Ontario and Canada there are a lot of programs for disability. The first step if you are in Canada is to get your doctor to evaluate you so that you can obtain a certificate of disability. This well help you and your family get a tax credit.

15. MODEST NEEDS (recommended by Audra) - Modest Needs is a registered charity that promotes the self-sufficiency of low-income workers by helping them to afford short-term, emergency expenses.

16. Local Churches (recommended by Margaret) - Check with churches too. They may have resources to help you or might be able to refer you. Many churches have food pantries and might be able to help assist you short-term.

17. PATIENT ADVOCATE FOUNDATION (recommended by Debra) - The fund will assist patients suffering from Multiple Myeloma with their co-pay needs during treatment. These funds will be made available to Multiple Myeloma patients who are insured and qualify both medically and financially.

18. Drug Manufacturers (recommended by Debra) - try calling them to see if you can get your prescriptions at a discounted rate or see if maybe you could get them for free with coupons.

19. Utility Companies (recommended by Debra) - try calling your utility companies for extra help with bills while you're applying for assistance.

20. GASTROPARESIS AND ME (recommended by Karen) - soon, this nonprofit organization will be able to help those who may need financial assistance.

21. WALMART - places like Walmart and Kroger have discount prescription programs. You can get most generics for $4.

22. HOPE AIR IN CANADA (recommended by Corry) - Since 1986, Hope Air has been arranging free flights to get financially-disadvantaged Canadians to the healthcare they need. Hope Air is the only registered, national charity that provides free flights to people who cannot afford the cost of an airline ticket to get to medical expertise or specialized medical technologies that usually exist only in larger urban centers. Hope Air is unique among Canadian charities in what we do. And we are proud to provide all flights to our Clients completely free of charge: no cost is transferred to Clients.

23. GO FUND ME (recommended by Ariella) - A personal way to collect online donations from organizations, friends, and family in order to receive help with medical expenses.

24. GIVE FORWARD (recommended by Garry) - GiveForward's online fundraising pages empower friends and family to send love and financial support to patients navigating a medical crisis. Start a GiveForward page today to ease the burden of your loved one's out-of-pocket medical bills.

25. CARING BRIDGE (recommended by Garry) - An online space where you can connect, share news, and receive support. It’s your very own health social network, coming together on your personalized website. And thanks to those who donate, they are available 24/7 to anyone, anywhere, at no cost.

26. Pets (recommended by Lora) - "It is fairly simple to get a favored pet established as a 'emotional support' animal, thus making it possible to take the pet with you EVERYWHERE (without additional fees when traveling!) That would help those in hospitals, housing issues, travel, etc. There are no actual requirements for training, just need a doctor to fill out the proper paperwork for a certificate. Here's a WEBSITE with a little info on the subject.

From the book, "EVERY DOG HAS A GIFT: TRUE STORIES OF DOGS WHO BRING HOPE & HEALING INTO OUR LIVES" BY RACHEL MCPHERSON, Founder and Executive Director of the Good Dod Foundation Link here:,

"The Americans with Disabilities Act defines service dogs as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal who is trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. For example, some dogs are trained to pull wheelchairs, others are taught to alert to the sounds of the telephone, oven timers, alarm clocks, smoke alarms, and even a baby’s cry. Service dogs are not considered pets. People frequently ask me how their dog can become a therapy dog. There is a common misconception that therapy dogs need to be a certain breed, or raised to be therapy dogs from a very young age. On the contrary, therapy dogs come in all breeds and sizes!

A therapy dog can provide healing to his or her companion or family, as well as hundreds of other people in a therapeutic setting – whether a hospital, a school or a retirement home. The remarkable work of therapy dogs (as well as service dogs and household pets) inspired me to write Every Dog Has a Gift. Likewise, I hope that readers will be inspired by the amazing stories in this book to do some good work with their own companion dog!

If you’re interested in getting your dog certified, here are some tips to get you started:

Find a reputable therapy-dog organization. If you’re located on the East coast, visit If not, find an animal-assisted therapy organization in your state that offers a training program. There are a number of organizations mentioned in the book, and many can be found online as well.

Undergo an evaluation and a training course. A good animal-assisted therapy organization should offer a thorough evaluation, training program, basic obedience training (if necessary) and follow-up. An experienced trainer will evaluate you and your dog as a team and place you in the appropriate courses. Training courses should use positive reinforcement and patient, reward-based methods.

Volunteer! The Good Dog Foundation maintains relationships with hospitals, schools and other facilities where we help schedule and orient therapy teams as they begin their outreach. After certification by a therapy organization, you and your dog can volunteer on your own or, even better, work with that organization to find volunteer opportunities in your area.

Service Dogs vs. Therapy Dogs: What's the Difference?
Unlike therapy dogs, service dogs and their human companions must be allowed access to buildings (including restaurants, libraries, supermarkets, and churches), transportation systems, and other public areas and services. Another difference between therapy and service dogs is that the latter are often picked by breed for certain characteristics.

What It Takes to Be a Service Dog

Service dogs should have all the characteristics of a therapy dog, plus a few others. For example, certain breeds are chosen for specific types of service. In the United States, 60 to 70 percent of all working guide dogs for the blind are Labrador retrievers. Golden retrievers and German shepherds are next in popularity. These dogs are chosen because of their temperament, versatility, size, intelligence, and availability. Guide dogs must be hard workers, large enough to guide people while in harness and small enough to be easily controlled and fit comfortably on public transportation and under restaurant tables.

You may find that some service dogs seem to 'stretch the envelope' when it comes to fitting comfortably in public places. One such dog appears in section one of Every Dog Has a Gift. Hooch is a massive Rottweiler who is a service dog for Daniel. Although Hooch weighs in at more than one hundred pounds, he manages to wrap himself around the pedestal of a cafe table and be as unobtrusive as possible!

Article information found at:

27. GOOD RX (recommended by Carrie) - Compare drug prices at over 70,000 pharmacies, and discover free coupons and savings tips. Even if you have insurance or Medicare, GoodRx can often find you a better price!"

Here are some other ways in order to cover your healthcare costs, which I'm updating with what I have been sent and what I have researched,

1. MENTAL HEALH AMERICA. Their website states, "
The ongoing cost of prescription medications can be a challenge, especially if you are taking more than one prescribed medication. Some pharmaceutical companies offer prescription assistance programs to individuals and families with financial needs. These programs typically require a doctor's consent and proof of your financial status. They may also require that you have either no health insurance or no prescription drug benefit through your health insurance. In addition, there are county, state, and national prescription programs for which you may qualify and special drug discount cards offered by some pharmaceutical companies." They list resources already found in this article, like GOODRX, but also give you several options I did not include above.

2. DRUGS.COM. This is an online, discount drug card. Just present this to your pharmacist and they will be able to process it like insurance, but keep in mind it is not, in fact, insurance. Their website states, "You'll save on most, but not all, prescriptions. The card is good for prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies if written on a prescription blank, and pet prescription medicines purchased at a pharmacy. The card is not valid in combination with other insurance plans, including Medicare, Medicaid or any state or federal prescription insurance. The card can be used only if you decide not to use your government-sponsored drug plan for your purchases." It claims to, "Save up to 80%. Never expires. Use the card as often as needed. Share the card with friends and family. Free, no fees or registration. Use at over 65,000 pharmacies nationwide including all major chains."

Getting Started
(Created by Melissa V** & Emily S. - and I will go through them and put the descriptions down later)

One good place to begin when searching for information regarding gastroparesis is with Emily Randolph Scherer’s blog: This blog is an excellent source – full of great advice/tips about all aspects of living with gastroparesis. The following are additional resources that might be helpful when looking for more specific information.

Gastroparesis Explained
Gastroparesis Diets (FODMAPS)

Digestive Disorders Organizations


Weight & Malnutrition

Educational Resources to Help You and Your Friends/Family Understand Gastroparesis

Grieving Process with Gastroparesis

Feeding Tubes



Common Problems/Conditions

Links to Various Gastroparesis-Related Resources
(Created by Melissa V.and Emily Scherer)
There are a lot of ways to find help you financially cope with the burden of deductibles, high out of pocket costs, and even if you do not have insurance, there are ways to help you afford your healthcare:

Help with Medical/Prescription Costs (*Start Here*)

Help with Nutritional Supplements & Equipment

**Giving credit where credit is due. These were made for the groups I owned and ran at the time. Since it's wonderfully put together, andI just found it going through group files, that I had to share it. I wanted this to benefit all, and did want want to just delete it. If I did that, that would make you guys he victims andy you'd suffer, because I was being petty. I did NOT want to do that.


Anonymous said...

Thanks all we could use extra help

Unknown said...

Thanks for all this information Emily! Well done!

Taxilady said...

Thanks for this wonderful list! I need to print it and hang on to it for the future! Wonderful work!

Anonymous said...

I do not know where to begin. I am due to have a gastric sleeve in May and was wondering what I will need to do because my insurance will not be covering it all and I am the only who can husband id disabled and can't work...the bill for this scare the tar out of me!!! The stress is horrible! Where do I begin????

emilysstomach said...

The FUND ME donations might work for you. You should make an account and see about collecting donations for your surgery. A friend of mine did something similar for her surgery that she had to get out of the country because it wasn't offered in ours. Insurance didn't cover it and it was a life or death surgery. MODEST NEEDS may be able to help as well.

Can you apply for FMLA at work and take a leave of absence until you recover from surgery?

Carrie Beth said...

One more website.. will help you find the best prices for meds and provide coupons to print to help save money on that medication as well. They also have an app to make life even easier.

emilysstomach said...

Thank you so much, Carrie! I'll add it! =)

Dawn La Motte said...

Angel Flights in the U.S.A helps those that can't afford transportation by flying them to appointments for specialized issues or just regular appointments with specialists.

I'll have to look up my list but there are many just for californians and those in the U.S. I will do this as soon as I can am very ill right now with my GP and H. CP. Be well all

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