In an unfortunate turn of events, cancer and deaths from cancer are at an all-time high globally. It is not just because treatments for cancer are not available. It is also because managing cancer can be incredibly distressing. Especially when cancer reaches the second or third stage, the afflicted patients struggle with recovering from the treatments and accumulating the funds for them.
Cancer is a shock to a family, both emotionally and financially. When such an event hits you, gathering resources is a challenge. Health insurance is still a rare phenomenon for Indians. 80% of Indian households are uninsured. Even those who are insured struggle with their medical bills. This can be either because many health insurance policies are very non-comprehensive in nature and may choose to sparingly pay for one section of cancer treatments but not another or because of their lack of coverage for pre-existing conditions, which can be problematic because many uninsured Indians often decide to buy a policy after they are affected, not before. Thus, the expenses are sudden and shocking.
Fortunately, there are other resources that cancer patients can avail of. There are two ways to raise funds for health problems these days. Some of these ways are government aid, financial assistance from NGOs, and crowdfunding. Most people are unaware that they can seek help from government schemes. Here, we list three ways the government provides financial support for cancer patients.
Governmental and Non-Governmental Financial Aid
There are two types of financial assistance that cancer patients can avail of.
The first is the option of governmental aid.
Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi)
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare offers the Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund, covered under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme. It is available to patients living below the poverty line. To avail of financial aid under this scheme, applicants must use the application form provided on the website. The form will need to be signed by the treating doctor and the medical superintendent of the region, government hospital, or cancer center. The scheme covers 27 nationwide cancer centers where the applicants can avail of treatment.
National Health Protection Scheme
Under the Ayushman Bharat initiative, this scheme provides financial coverage for up to 5 lakhs per family per year. This scheme aims to help facilitate cashless hospitalization for the beneficiaries at the point of service. The cover provided collates the following expenses for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization:
- Medical examination, treatment, and consultation
- Medicine and medical consumables
- Diagnostic and laboratory investigations
- Non-intensive and intensive care services
- Accommodation benefits
- Medical implantation services (where necessary)
- Complications arising during treatment
- Food services
- Post-hospitalization follow-up care up to 15 days
The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund
The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund was originally intended to provide financial aid to those affected by natural disasters. However, it also covers partial expenses for advanced conditions like kidney transplants, cancer treatments, heart surgeries, and more. This fund applies to hospitals and centers found on their website.
If the hospital chosen is found on the list, a few mandatory documents like address proof, medical certificate, application form, passport-sized photographs, and a detailed medical certificate must be submitted to the PMO.
While these are three ways the government can aid financially, many more schemes are available for the welfare of people seeking monetary aid, including:
- Chief Minister’s Relief fund
- National Policy for Women
- State Illness Assistance fund
- Central Government Health Scheme
- Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Yojna
- Ambedkar Medical Aid Scheme
There are many more schemes available, with differing eligibilities. Additionally, many state governments also have their state relief funds that offer financial aid to patients that are domiciled in that state.
Non-Governmental Financial Aid
Non-governmental aid can come from any NGO and other private organizations. Similar to government aid, these also have eligibility and may be regional. Some corporations offer assistance under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) schemes.
Apart from direct organizations, crowdfunding is available for treatment expenses.
Crowdfunding is the most popular form of non-governmental financial aid. It involves designing a campaign that summarises the condition. This works like a pitch used to approach NGOs and other fundraising organisations. These pitches are usually web-based and may charge certain amounts. However, with Ketto, this process can be more straightforward, as anyone can create a campaign with a zero percent platform fee. All that is required is basic information, along with a few mandatory details. Any individual can start crowdfunding campaign and raise financial help for cancer patients in India.
Cancer is very draining on not just physical health but also resources. In such times, financial aid might become necessary due to the non-comprehensive nature of most insurance schemes. In such situations, one can avail of various options to accumulate the necessary resources in the tough fight against cancer.