This section provides thyroid cancer patients and their families with information on the programs and services available to help them finance the cancer treatment and the costs incurred.
Thyroid cancer, or any cancer for that matter, can be expensive to treat and manage. There is a high rate of bankruptcy among thyroid cancer survivors in Canada. A literature review conducted by the Canadian Cancer Society in 2010 found that most of the costs incurred by patients and their families were related to travelling expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and cancer drugs and prescription medicines.
The Canada Health Act says all Canadians “have access to the insured health services including all medically necessary hospital services, inpatient pharmaceuticals (medicines used while you are hospitalized), and medically required physician services (1).” This means that medicines not used in-hospital (outpatients) are not always paid for, such as medicines that are taken orally by the patient at home.
Information taken from Thyroid Cancer Canada unless otherwise indicated.
(1) Government of Canada, “Canada Health Act”, 2018. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/health-care-system/canada-health-care-system-medicare/canada-health-act.html
More financial resources and programs
Canada revenue form for tax/medical expenses – in or outside Canada, provided by a medical practitioner or a public or licensed private hospital.
Canadian hospice palliative care association (CHPCA) – A model to guide hospice palliative Care in Canada
Cleaning for a reason – Free house cleaning for cancer patients within Canada or the U.S.
Community care access centre (CCAC) A navigator which will help your local community care access centre.
Look good, feel better – Free or affordable wigs for cancer patients
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit is a taxable monthly payment that is available to people who have contributed to the CPP and who are not able to work regularly at any job because of a disability.
The CPP disability benefit is not designed to pay for such things as medications and assistive devices.
To qualify for a CPP disability benefit, you must:
- have a severe and prolonged disability
- be under the age of 65
- meet the CPP contribution requirements.
Wheels of Hope – Free transportation for cancer treatments.
Government financial support (Ontario only)
A resident of Ontario must have a health card to show that he or she is entitled to health care services paid for by OHIP. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care pays for a wide range of services, however, it does not pay for services that are not medically necessary, such as cosmetic surgery.
To apply for OHIP coverage, you must go in person to a ServiceOntario centre.
Most of your Ontario health benefits are covered across Canada. The province or territory you are visiting will usually bill the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care directly for hospital and physician services. In Quebec, you may have to pay for physician services and then submit your receipt to your local ministry office for payment.
See the Questions and Answers page for detailed information on OHIP and for the ServiceOntario centre nearest you that provides Health Card services.
Ontario residents are eligible for provincially funded health coverage (OHIP). Generally, to be eligible for Ontario health coverage you must :
- be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or among one of the newcomer to Canada groups who are eligible for OHIP as set out in Ontario’s Health Insurance Act; and
- be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in any 12-month period; and
- be physically present in Ontario for at least 153 days of the first 183 days immediately after establishing residency in the province; and
- make your primary place of residence in Ontario.
OHIP coverage normally becomes effective three months after the date you establish residency in Ontario. The ministry strongly encourages new and returning residents to purchase private health insurance in case you become ill during the OHIP waiting period.
Ministry of health and long-term care (Ontario only) *The Ontario Public Drug Programs Division runs Ontario’s public drug programs, and you have to potential to earn benefits. To qualify, you must live in Ontario and have a valid Ontario Health Card. Each program may have additional rules about who can join. If you qualify, Ontario’s drug programs will pay most of the cost of some of your prescription drugs. These programs are separate from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). OHIP pays doctors and other health care providers to provide certain health services.
Ontario disability support program (Ontario only) If you have a disability and need help with your living expenses, you may be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
- financial assistance to help you and your family with essential living expenses
- benefits, for you and your family, including prescription drugs, dental services and vision care
- help finding and keeping a job, and advancing your career
If you require immediate financial assistance, please contact your local Ontario Works office (you can also still apply for ODSP).
Ontario Works (Ontario only) Ontario Works helps people who are in financial need. It offers two types of assistance: *http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/ow/
Financial assistance, including:
- income support to help with the costs of basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter
- health benefits for clients and their families
Employment assistance to help clients find, prepare for and keep a job. This assistance may include:
- workshops on resume writing and interviewing
- job counselling
- job-specific training
- access to basic education, so clients can finish high school or improve their language skills
In most cases, a client must agree to participate in employment assistance activities in order to receive financial assistance.
Emergency assistance is also available to people who are in a crisis or an emergency situation (e.g. people who have lost their homes, are leaving an abusive relationship and/or are worried about their safety).
Trillium drug program (TDP) (Ontario only) The TDP helps people who have high prescription drug costs relative to their household income within Ontario. It covers all drugs approved under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program.
Wigs (Langley, B.C.) – Free or affordable wigs for cancer patients.
PalCare network Ontario home care association (York region) – Provides awareness and easy access to high quality, compassionate, coordinated hospice palliative care everywhere.