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Health Team

Financial aid programs help with medical costs

Posted August 8, 2011 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated August 8, 2011 6:50 p.m. EDT

— A cancer diagnosis can be stressful enough without adding the worry of medical expenses.

Rex Hospital reports seeing a 20 percent increase in the number of patients who are under-insured or do not have health insurance. The hospital offers financial aid programs.

Kimberly Fradel, a medical social worker at Rex, said the programs “make sure that not only the medical expenses are taken care of, but the unexpected expenses that come up with the cancer experience are addressed.”

Fradel said the hospital writes off $125,000 a day in charity care. So far, $10 million this year has been given in financial aid for cancer treatments.

“We make a promise to our patients that they're going to get the same quality of health care despite their ability to pay,” Fradel said.

Linda Simmons, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, was relieved to learn about the program. She is the sole money-earner in her household, providing for her husband who is unable to work, and she has no health insurance.

Simmons had her last cancer treatment three months ago, and is cancer-free.

“Between them and the Angel Fund at Rex and the Komen Foundation, all my medical is paid for,” she said.

Simmons wants others to know that there is help out there. “You may not know it, but there is. Please ask,” she said.

Patients should first ask their doctor about financial aid. Doctors can refer patients to a social worker and financial counselor.