GERMANTOWN, Md., Jan. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --The HealthWell Foundation®, an independent non-profit that provides a financial lifeline for inadequately insured Americans, has opened a new fund to provide copayment and premium assistance to Medicare patients living with nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM). Through the new fund, HealthWell will provide up to $2,000 in financial assistance for a 12-month grant to eligible patients who have annual household incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
Don Liss MD, HealthWell Foundation Board member, commented on the fund opening, "Older patients who develop NTM are often already debilitated from other health issues. Individuals of modest means may simply be unable to afford the out-of-pocket costs of the medicines necessary to treat their infection." Dr. Liss continued, "It is gratifying to be able to help Medicare patients with NTM access the medical treatments required to treat this serious infection."
NTM are naturally-occurring organisms (germs) found in water and soil. While most species of NTM do not cause human disease, except in people with weak lungs or immune systems, people who are susceptible develop lung infections after inhalation of the organisms from misty water or from the soil, according to the Chest Foundation. These lung infections become slowly progressive, destroying lung tissue and leading to other, more serious lung conditions. Between 12,000 – 18,000 new cases of NTM lung infections are diagnosed each year in the United States.
Scott Manaker, MD, PhD, a professor of pulmonary medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who is not affiliated with HealthWell, said, "Treatment of NTM requires a long course of therapy, including multiple antibiotics to try and control these infections. Nonprofit organizations can play a vital role in helping to ensure patients have access to the critical medications they need, when they need it."
"Treatment of NTM, especially in elderly patients and patients with severe infections, can require months of therapy. Often, treatment of the infection can cause financial hardship to these patients, especially to those on Medicare," said Krista Zodet, HealthWell Foundation President. "We applaud our donors for recognizing the difficulties NTM patients on Medicare face in accessing the required medications to treat their condition and are honored to offer financial resources to ease some of their burden."
To determine eligibility and apply for financial assistance, visit HealthWell's Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Fund page. To learn how you can support this or other HealthWell programs, visit HealthWellFoundation.org.
About the HealthWell Foundation
A nationally recognized, independent non-profit organization founded in 2003, the HealthWell Foundation has served as a safety net across over 65 disease areas for more than 405,000 underinsured patients by providing approximately $1.25 billion in grant support to access life-changing medical treatments they otherwise would not be able to afford. HealthWell provides financial assistance to adults and children facing medical hardship resulting from gaps in their insurance that cause out-of-pocket medical expenses to escalate rapidly. HealthWell assists with the treatment-related cost-sharing obligations of these patients. HealthWell ranked #41 on the 2018 Forbes list of the 100 Largest U.S. Charities and was recognized for its 100% fundraising efficiency. For more information, visit www.HealthWellFoundation.org.
SOURCE HealthWell Foundation