Chief Development Officer, the HealthWell Foundation®
The HealthWell Foundation® has provided over $2.1 billion in grant support to underinsured patients who need, but can’t afford, life-changing medical treatments.
They’ve helped over 615,000 patients across over 80 disease areas, including 24,000 patients living with hepatitis C.
“Our mission is to make sure that no patient in this country has to choose between affording their prescribed medications and paying for food or rent or daily necessities,” says Alan Klein, chief development officer at HealthWell.
Klein explains the program:
What is foundation assistance?
Qualified patients can receive a 12-month grant of up to $30,000 from HealthWell. If you take the standard of care hepatitis C medication treatment regimen, the vast majority of patients achieve a curative state within about three months.
We’ve been able to help people afford medication, which not only cured their hepatitis C, but possibly prevented them from a worse outcome than a hepatitis C diagnosis.
What are patients saying about your copay assistance program?
A HealthWell Foundation Hepatitis C Fund grant recipient, Len. S., from Omaha, said: “Twelve weeks later, labs showed no HCV detected. I was released from treatment because I was cured. The 12-week treatment cost would have been over $70,000. For a fixed-income person and a retired educator, it was absolutely prohibitive. The staff at the specialist’s office intervened with my insurance plan — it would have brought the cost down to around $12,000. That was still a very difficult thing for us. Along came HealthWell, working with the pharmacy, and a grant from them reduced my copay to $0! I gratefully and sincerely consider the Foundation part of my lifesaving cure. I will be forever grateful to them.”
What other conditions do your grants cover?
Our biggest funds, other than hepatitis C are multiple myeloma, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis. We have offered assistance in approximately 80 disease areas. Visit our Disease Funds page for a list of the diseases we currently cover.
What is the grant application process? How long does it take to get approved?
Please apply. It takes under eight minutes. You have to be able to answer “yes” to three basic questions. Do you have health insurance of any kind? Do you have a prescription for an FDA-approved or compendia listed medication for one of the disease areas that we cover? Do you meet the income threshold (generally 500 percent of the federal poverty level)? We are then able to instantly enroll you into that specific fund to pay your medication copay or insurance premiums.
How did COVID affect the program?
HealthWell opened three COVID-19 funds, including a fund to help patients afford food and medication delivery, so they could comply with stay-at-home orders and social distancing.
We also helped people who had been laid off or furloughed during COVID keep their health insurance by fully reimbursing them for the employee portion of COBRA insurance. This initiative was also recently included as part of a larger package signed into law. The government will now pay the COBRA for those similarly affected people under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).
The third one is for frontline health care workers. We’re concerned about the same syndrome seen for 9/11 first responders, where about six months after the crisis was over, a significant number of those heroes developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from Ground Zero deaths.
Grants will pay for copays associated with behavioral health medication, psychotherapy, or talk therapy, as well as subsequent transportation costs.
What’s next for the HealthWell Foundation®?
We recently launched an updated version of our disease fund tracking tool, Real-Time Fund Alerts. Anyone who registers can receive instant email notifications to track the status of HealthWell’s diverse portfolio of disease funds in real-time.
To learn more about the HealthWell Foundation and the disease areas we cover, visit https://www.healthwellfoundation.org/disease-funds/.