One Year of FundFinder: Connecting Patients with the Help They Need
By Ayesha Azam, Senior Director of Medical Affairs
Today marks one year of FundFinder, the first free patient assistance app to provide real-time alerts when funding is available across nine charitable foundations, including the PAN Foundation.
Through our conversations with thousands of patients and their family members, healthcare providers and pharmacists, we learned that searching for patient assistance was burdensome, time-consuming and frustrating—with no guarantee a program would be available when they began their search.
For thousands of people, a closed patient assistance program means they might delay or forgo their treatment because they cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs.
That’s why last December, we launched FundFinder.
FundFinder tracks the status of more than 200 assistance programs offered by nine foundations in one place, where any user can check the status of or sign up for email or text message alerts when funding opens for a specific condition.
15,000 users and 180,000 notifications later, it’s clear that FundFinder has been a pivotal development for people who require financial support to access their medications.
A new source of support for patients
Nearly half of FundFinder’s 15,000 users identify as a patient or caregiver. With approximately 3.6 million Medicare beneficiaries reaching the catastrophic phase of their coverage every year, the number of older adults who need help paying for their medications is growing.
Brenda, a woman who lives with pulmonary hypertension, found available support thanks to FundFinder. She says that “FundFinder email alerts made it easy to learn if grants were available. Even though my medication is covered by insurance, there is no way I could afford the 20 percent co-pay without a grant.”
Brenda also runs a support group for people with pulmonary hypertension. She keeps the members of the group updated on the status of available funding through FundFinder.
Another grant recipient, Sherry, told us that she has used FundFinder to find assistance for both her and her husband’s chronic illnesses. Prior to FundFinder, she spent a lot of time online checking if funds were open.
Conditions with the greatest need
As out-of-pocket costs for specialty drugs to treat serious illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis and hepatitis C continue to rise, our team has seen increased need for financial assistance.
FundFinder’s most followed disease areas closely reflect the conditions that require patients to spend thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for their treatment. The five most followed diseases on the app include:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
Spotlight on multiple sclerosis
As one of the most expensive conditions when it comes to out-of-pocket costs, it’s no surprise that multiple sclerosis is the most followed disease on FundFinder.
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that in 2019, a Medicare beneficiary with multiple sclerosis will pay on average between $6,500 and $7,400 out-of-pocket annually for their medications.
Patients are often hit with these costs at the beginning of the year due to the structure of Medicare Part D benefits—and there is no cap on the amount they may spent out-of-pocket.
In the last year, patient assistance programs for multiple sclerosis opened 27 different times across all charitable foundations. Thanks to FundFinder, when these programs opened, 19,994 notifications were sent to 1,123 people about available assistance.
Our goal is to quickly connect patients with available funding for their out-of-pocket treatment costs so they can start and stay on treatment without delay.
We know that FundFinder is just one piece of the puzzle in ensuring that patients can access their critical medical treatment. So, while we celebrate this progress, we’re committed to doing everything we can to increase access to healthcare in the years to come.