Today is only the third working day of 2011 and we have already talked with three women, all with different issues they need help with. One hasn’t had a mammogram in several years and has no insurance, another is a Medicare patient overwhelmed with co-pays for medical bills, and another is paying over $1,000 a month for insurance due to a pre-existing condition.
This past year, 75 women with breast cancer, or their friends or family members, called the PBCC for help. Often they sounded exhausted and told us that they’d already tried a number of other places and expected that we wouldn’t be able to help them. That just makes us more determined to find the resources they need.
Over half of the questions we hear are about medical bills and co-pays or mammograms. Of the 75 who called,
- 21 needed financial help with medical bills
- 20 needed mammograms and were uninsured or underinsured
- 9 had questions about BCCPT (free treatment program) or other coverage
- 6 needed help paying for prescriptions
- 3 were breast cancer patients on the verge of losing their insurance
- 3 had general questions or concerns about breast cancer
- 2 needed lymphedema supplies
- 2 wanted a referral for a specialist or a hospital
- 2 needed to know where to get prostheses
- 1 needed a follow-up mammogram, which her insurance wouldn’t cover
- 1 was awaiting diagnosis and was exploring coverage options ahead of time
- 1 was looking for information about home health care
- 1 had questions about legal issues of an employer not allowing time off for treatment
Also in 2010 we added this question to our online Friends Like Me care package order form: “If this is a self-request, would you like the PBCC’s patient advocate to call you?”
Usually, we find that the information included in the Friends Like Me care package answers all of the questions a survivor may have. But all the recipients we talk with say that the phone call is one more reminder that she is not alone, the PBCC is here for her.