Real World Health Care Blog

Cancer: Taking Care of the Mind and the Body

Krista Zodet

Krista Zodet, President, HealthWell Foundation

This post marks the final article in our series on cancer-related behavioral health. As the founding sponsor of Real World Health Care, the HealthWell Foundation has been honored to raise awareness of the behavioral health needs of cancer patients and to shine a spotlight on the organizations that participated in this important series:

The HealthWell team would like to recognize these amazing organizations for sharing their guidance and for the support we received in helping us promote our Cancer-Related Behavioral Health Fund to assist more patients in need.

Helping Cancer Patients Afford Concurrent Behavioral Health Treatments and Therapies

Providing financial assistance to people living with cancer has always been a priority at HealthWell. Through our 20+ oncology funds, we’ve assisted more than 120,000 individuals living with cancer with more than $380 million in assistance.

We recognize the unmet needs of oncology patients and the importance mental health has on treatment, recovery and overall well-being. We’ve seen first-hand how financial distress can impact the health and lives of individuals and families. Cancer patients with behavioral health conditions are particularly hard hit; according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), patients with some forms of cancer incur $8,000 more per year in health care costs than cancer patients without behavioral health conditions.

Because HealthWell believes in operating programs that focus not just on the patient’s disease or condition, but on addressing the total needs of the patient, we are pleased to offer a Cancer-Related Behavioral Health (CRBH) Fund to assist individuals in need of cancer-related behavioral health treatments.  The Fund provides financial assistance to individuals with a diagnosis of cancer in covering their out-of-pocket treatment-related costs for prescription drugs, counseling services, psychotherapy, and transportation.  HealthWell provides up to $2,000 in financial assistance for a 12-month grant to eligible patients who have annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level.

Since launching the Fund in May, our grants have started to make a positive impact on people in need, including Robyn who is living with breast cancer:

“HealthWell has been a major help to me for a long time. I consider myself lucky to have benefited from a number of grants. I’d probably be dead without HealthWell.  HealthWell came to my aid with grants for my cancer treatments and now they are assisting me through the Cancer-Related Behavioral Health Fund so I can receive necessary medications and counseling to manage my condition.  The Foundation continues to come through where others have not.  It’s been a rough road and HealthWell’s assistance means a great deal to me.  Someday, I hope I can be on the other side and pay it back.” Robyn – CRBH grant recipient

Robyn is just one of countless Americans who struggle with cancer-related behavioral health problems. Unfortunately, the risk of psychological disability is six times higher for adults living with cancer than those not living with cancer. And more than half of cancer patients do not receive social or emotional support as part of their care. With so many barriers and unnecessary stigmas associated with behavioral health treatments, we believe that the cost of treatment should not be one of them.

To learn more about the fund and how you can support it or apply for financial assistance through the fund, visit HealthWell’s Cancer-Related Behavioral Health Fund page. We also invite you to join the ongoing conversation on Twitter @RWHCblog.