The Affordable Care Act has eliminated the practice of denying those with existing medical conditions health insurance coverage. Despite that, it has not abolished many of the expenses the chronically ill face when accessing treatment. In fact, insurance companies have, in many cases, increased the up-front charges that patients must pay to access medications, which in some cases can run to thousands of dollars each month.
This is problematic for most patients, but particularly for lower income patients who may run out of money to pay for these treatments before even reaching the deductible dollar amount required for insurance coverage to kick in. Unfortunately, even with insurance, many patients with chronic illnesses find themselves in severe financial difficulty, often losing their entire life savings, their homes, and their financial stability. For patients also coping with serious or potentially debilitating illnesses, the added financial stress is an extra, difficult blow for them and their families.
This is where an Employee Relief Fund can be of assistance to a company employee facing a chronic illness and subsequent financial hardship. In the case of chronic illness, patients are often able to manage their illness and continue to work and live full lives, provided they have regular access to treatment. Employees (whose hardship meets the grant criteria) could benefit by having an employee relief fund help them out of potentially devastating financial hardship and ensure they are able to continue with their treatment uninterrupted. It could also save the company money in the long run by avoiding increased absenteeism, and the potential need to hire and train a new employee should the affected employee be unable to continue working. When a company and its employees comes together to support another member of their community, everyone wins.
Source: Morgan, D. Chronically ill facing high drug costs under U.S. health law. Feb. 28, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/28/us-usa-healthcare-costs-idUSBREA1R08420140228