FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, May 15 /HISPANIC PR WIRE-CONTEXTO LATINO/ — The lymphoma diagnosis was terrifying enough. But when Cristobal Bustos, 44, began struggling with the spiraling costs of paying for his health insurance and medications, he was overwhelmed.
What he believed was painful indigestion and extreme rapid weigh loss first sent him to the emergency room in December of 2005. A mass was discovered in his stomach and the diagnosis of lymphoma was made.
Cristobal was living alone, while his wife and children remained in Columbia. His mother obtained a Visa to come to the United States and help care for him during the most difficult part of his treatment.
Out on disability from his job, Cristobal was able to continue his insurance coverage through his company’s HMO but has to pay for the insurance on his own. On top of that he had been taking additional medication for conditions related to the treatment and it was becoming costly for him.
“I was very worried about how I was going to be able to pay for all this,” said Cristobal. Still reeling from the after-affects of his diagnosis, he couldn’t imagine how he would manage the costs. Even though his insurance covered his treatments, he was struggling to manage the insurance premiums and co-pays.
Cristobal turned to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Co-Pay Assistance Program for help. “It has been very, very helpful,” Cristobal said. “It has been a big relief for me.”
The program provides support for prescription drug co-pays and health insurance premiums for patients who meet certain income requirements. Since launching the program last year, LLS has expanded it to include more disease categories. The program currently covers patients with myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.
Patients with private insurance, Medicare beneficiaries under Medicare Part B and/or Medicare Plan D, Medicare Supplementary Health Insurance and Medicare Advantage premium are eligible.
“Receiving a diagnosis of a blood cancer is overwhelming and that devastating news can be compounded by an inability to afford the treatments and co-pays,” said Anita Welborn, LLS Senior Director, Patient Services Reimbursement Programs. “LLS is trying to do what it can to help alleviate this burden so patients can focus on getting well.”
For more information, visit http://www.lls.org/copay or call 877-LLS-COPAY.
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