GERMANTOWN, Md., Dec. 27, 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 people living with Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS). Under the new fund, HealthWell will provide up to $12,000 in financial assistance for a 12-month grant to eligible patients who have annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level.
According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), LEMS is a rare neuromuscular disorder that weakens and fatigues the body's voluntary muscles, usually causing weakness in the upper legs and hips. As the legs are particularly affected, it may be difficult to climb stairs, run, walk or get out of a chair. Approximately 50 to 60 percent of LEMS cases are associated with an underlying disease, particularly small cell lung cancer. While the trigger for LEMS is unknown in people without cancer, it is estimated that about half of those with LEMS have or will develop cancer.
"For some patients, LEMS may be a marker for an underlying cancer that, if identified early and effectively treated, the autoimmune process may resolve without the need for chronic treatment. A LEMS diagnosis can lead to an earlier detection of cancer," said Nancy Carteron, MD, FACR, Consultant Rheumatologist, Sjogren's Expert and Faculty of University of California, San Francisco and HealthWell Foundation Board Member. "Paraneoplastic syndromes, autoimmunity linked to cancer, may be the first or most prominent manifestation of a cancer. As with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases with movement symptoms, individuals living with LEMS are often faced with a multitude of physical challenges. Covering treatment costs may also present a financial hardship for these patients and their families. HealthWell Foundation's new fund provides financial assistance for these patients so they can focus on managing their condition."
"LEMS can have potentially debilitating effects. Symptoms of the disease can be managed with the proper treatment however, the cost may represent a financial burden to many," said Krista Zodet, HealthWell Foundation President. "Thanks to the continued support of our dedicated donors who recognize the unmet need of individuals living with LEMS, we are now able to offer a financial lifeline to help them access critical medical treatments they otherwise would forgo due to cost."
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 #33 on the 2019 Forbes list of the 100 Largest U.S. Charities and was recognized for its 100% fundraising efficiency. For more information, visit www.HealthWellFoundation.org.