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Patient Support Resources during COVID19

April 15, 2020

Covid-19 News

Jessica Wulf, LMSW,  Medical Social Worker

 As we continue living this new normal you may feel lost on how to navigate different systems or organizations you’ve never had to utilize before COVID-19. Here are some resources that be helpful during this ongoing crisis.

Insurance

As more and more people are being laid off and having to navigate unemployment, the issue of health insurance becomes very real. A large percentage of Americans receive insurance from their employer and may be left with no insurance after being laid off or on furlough. Insurance is incredibly important when you have a bleeding or clotting disorder for a variety of reasons, mainly because the cost of medications.

Here are some options if you find yourself in this situation:

NYS Marketplace- NYS has opened enrollment for their insurance plans. We are very lucky to be one of the 37 states allowing anyone to get onto an insurance plan during this crisis. You can access information, compare plans, and even enroll online at: www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov or you can call: 1-855-355-5777.

COBRA- This is a program that allows you to keep your current healthcare coverage from your employer if you are terminated, leave that position, business bankruptcy, and other qualifying events. However this program can be very expensive as your employer is no longer contributing towards the cost and you must pay 100% of the premium.

Unemployment

There are many people in Western New York that needing to apply for unemployment benefits because they have been laid off or furloughed. The process to receive benefits has been changing due to the high influx of people needing benefits. Currently the quickest way to apply and access unemployment benefits is through the website: https://www.ny.gov/services/get-unemployment-assistance

As of Monday the website states the average time to apply and complete the necessary forms, takes about 60 minutes. So keep in mind the online application is working on streamlining the process but it still takes some time and patience to complete.

The CARES Act has also increased the weekly amount of each person’s unemployment by $600.00 a week. It has also extended the amount of time someone can be receiving unemployment benefits.

Patient Assistance Programs

Remember that as insurance and unemployment changes, this can affect the cost of medication. There are multiple patient assistance programs for certain medications and diagnoses.

Some of these programs are through grant funded agencies like: Patient Assistance Network, PSI, The Assistance Fund, etc.

There are also programs through the specific companies that makes your medication.

*It’s important to note that these programs and grants have restrictions, qualifications, and are not right for everyone. Some of these programs require income eligibility, while others are dependent on the type of insurance you have. It’s important to talk to the social worker, Jessica Wulf, at WNYBC to help decipher program eligibly and requirements.

Food

During this crisis we are not only concerned about our health and safety, but also being spread thin financially. It can become scary when food starts running low and there is a wait for unemployment and stimulus checks. If you are in need of emergency food assistance please check out the Food Bank of WNY. 

There website has pantry locators, information on their mobile food pantry, and a list of school meal distribution sites. Or call 2-1-1 they can also connect you to these resources over the phone.

Jessica Wulf, LMSW, Social worker at Western New York BloodCare is available to help you navigate these systems, answer any questions, and work to provide you with helpful resources. Please call our main number: 716-896-2470 with any questions.

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