Many Nebraskans face the first of the year with dread. That is when the new Medicare fiscal year kicks in and deductibles go back to zero. Many residents will be facing tough financial decisions as they struggle to pay for medications or the grocery bill when they hit that donut hole in coverage. Dan Klein is the president and CEO of the PAN Foundation, Patient Access Network Fund, a non-profit that helps people who cannot afford out-of-pocket costs for medical treatments and medications.
Klein says, “Someone who is on Medicare who has a serious illness is likely to face a lot of out-of-pocket costs and those can be overwhelming, especially at the beginning of the year when the benefit resets and that can cost you in 2019 up to $5,100 out-of-pocket.”
The PAN Foundation assists those in a financial crisis. Klein says many people are skipping medications or cutting them in half to stretch them. The PAN Foundation’s goal is to eliminate that worry.
Klein says Nebraskans can apply for grants to help cover that gap but they must live in the U.S., receive treatment in the U.S., be on Medicare and your financial means are at or below 500% of the federal poverty level. About one-third of people on Medicare will face financial challenges if they have a severe illness this year.
Kleine says they receive requests for about 100,000 grants each year. The Pan Foundation has been around for 15 years an in that time has helped one-million people with nearly $3 billion in assistance.
Kleine says applying takes about 10 minutes and can be done over the phone at 1-866-316-7263 or by logging on to panfoundation.org.