Community resources for copd

COPD: Resources

Alpha-1 Association

3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd.

Coral Gables, FL 33134

email: [email protected]

American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR)

330 N. Wabash Avenue, Suite 2000

Chicago, IL 60611

email: [email protected]

American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)

9425 N. MacArthur Blvd., Suite 100

Irving, TX 75063-4706

email: [email protected]

American College of Chest Physicians

2595 Patriot Blvd.

Glenview, IL 60026

224.521.9800 or 800.343.2227

American Lung Association

55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150

Chicago, IL 6060

1 800.LUNGUSA or 800.548.8252

American Thoracic Society

25 Broadway

New York, NY 10004

The COPD Foundation, Inc.

3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd.

Miami, FL 33134

International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation

14673 Midway Road, Suite 200

Addison, TX 75001

email: [email protected]

The National Emphysema Foundation

128 East Avenue

Norwalk, CT 06851

email: [email protected]

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Information Center

P.O. Box 30105

Bethesda, MD 20824-0105

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

1731King Street, Suite 100

Alexandria, VA 22314

email: [email protected]

National Jewish Medical & Research Center Lung-Line

1400 Jackson St.

Denver, CO 80206

Second Wind Lung Transplant Association, Inc.*

Cheryl Keeler, President

2781 Chateau Circle

Columbus, OH 43221

email: [email protected]

*This group meets every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Clinic in the Education Building.

Web Sites


A not-for-profit health management company providing services exclusively to the Alpha community.

Chest Medicine On-Line

EFFORTS Emphysema Foundation for Our Right to Survive

National Lung Health Education Program

Not-for-profit newsletter intended to support people with chronic lung problems.

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Financial Assistance Programs

Where to Get Help Paying for Medical Treatment

If the cost of medical treatment is a burden for you and your family, you should talk to your healthcare team about your concerns and see what options are available. Your doctor may be able to switch you to less expensive, but equally effective treatments. You should also ask about the types of patient financial assistance programs that are available to help you cover expenses.

Most financial assistance programs, but not all, have eligibility requirements based on need and whether or not you have health insurance that includes drug coverage. You will need to provide information about your age, your income, your insurance plan and either your illness or the prescription medicines you are taking.

If you don’t have health insurance, the website has detailed information about how to get healthcare coverage you can afford. You can also get connected to organizations in your community that can help you enroll. These resources can help you learn more about shopping for health insurance and choosing a plan.

Some things to watch out for looking for financial assistance programs:

  • Some private insurance plans are adopting a new kind of policy, called a copay accumulator program, that does not count the financial assistance received toward a patient’s deductible or out-of-pocket maximum. This means patients may still face burdensome out-of-pocket costs to get the care they need.
  • Drug company discount coupons cannot be used by people who are participating in a state or federally-funded healthcare program, including Medicare and Medicaid and Tricare.
  • Beware of scams. There are websites, phone scammers and even people going door to door offering prescription assistance programs and discount cards and asking for money. None of the reputable programs listed here will ever ask you for money.

Prescription Assistance Programs

Many pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy chains and nonprofit organizations offer programs that provide access to free or low-cost medicines. Eligibility requirements vary, so you need to check carefully to find a plan that works for you.

  • FamilyWize

FamilyWize has partnered with pharmacies nationwide to negotiate prescription discounts. Free downloadable prescription discount cards can be used by everyone, regardless of financial need or insurance status. Their Drug Price Look Up Tool allows comparison shopping to find the lowest price.

  • Medicine Assistance Tool

The Medicine Assistance Tool (MAT) is a free-to-use search engine that focuses its searches on patient assistance resources available to eligible patients. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) launched the MAT in 2019 to allow users to search for financial assistance resources available from PhRMA’s member companies. MAT replaces PhRMA’s Partnership for Prescription Assistance program (PPA).

  • NeedyMeds

NeedyMeds is a national non-profit organization that maintains a website of free information on a wide range of prescription assistance programs. Their resources include a telephone help line, a library of patient education information and a drug discount card that is available to everyone.

  • RxAssist Patient Assistance Program Center

RxAssist is a web-based medication assistance resource center that offers a comprehensive directory of the patient assistance programs run by pharmaceutical companies, as well as tools and information to help patients manage their medication costs.

Charitable Patient Assistance Programs

Some charitable foundations and other nonprofits offer financial assistance that can be used to pay for a range of out-of-pocket costs associated with an illness. Depending on the program, patients who qualify may be able to use the funds for medicine, doctor visits, travel expenses and health insurance premiums.

  • FundFinder

The Patient Access Network Foundation’s FundFinder is a web-based app designed to quickly notify registered users when financial assistance for their condition becomes available from any of the charitable patient assistance foundations.

Government Programs

In addition to Medicare and Medicaid, which provide benefits to all eligible Americans according to their age and income level, you may also be able to find assistance programs run by your state or local government.

  • BenefitsCheckUp

BenefitsCheckUp is a free service of the National Council on Aging that allows seniors to search a database of over 2,500 benefits programs nationwide, including medication, housing, food and nutrition and income assistance.

  • Medicaid

Medicaid is a health coverage program for low-income people that is run by states, with some funding support from the federal government. Eligibility requirements and benefits vary state-to-state. For information about the Medicaid program in your area, contact your state Health Department.


This federal government website walks you through how to sign up for Medicare if you are 65 or older, as well as how to choose the Part D prescription drug plan that’s best for you based on where you live, your income and what drugs you take. If you are on Medicare and have a very limited income, you may be eligible for Extra Help to pay for the costs—monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments—related to a Medicare prescription drug plan.

Additional Assistance Programs

Beyond finding help to pay for medications and other treatments, these resources offer assistance in locating information or support.


211 is the most comprehensive source of local social services in the U. S. and Canada. For help with housing, utilities, food, addiction treatment and other services, call 211 or visit the website.

  • Lung HelpLine

The American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine can answer questions you have about tobacco cessation, lung disease treatment plans, diagnostic tests and ways to keep your lungs healthy.

What welfare benefits might I be entitled to?

We’ve put together a basic guide to benefits for people living with a lung condition in England, Scotland and Wales. It was updated in December 2019. Use this page to navigate between the different benefits that you might be entitled to.

On this page:

  • Are you entitled to benefits?
  • Benefits you may be entitled to
  • Qualifying rules for benefits
  • The benefits cap
  • Information for those living in Northern Ireland

You may be entitled to benefits if you:

  • have care or mobility needs because of your lung condition
  • cannot work due to your lung condition
  • are thinking of giving up work because of your lung condition
  • care for someone with a lung condition

Having a lung condition doesn’t entitle you to welfare benefits. Benefits depend on how your lung condition affects your care or mobility needs, or your ability to work.

If you’re unsure what you’re entitled to and want to talk to someone, please call our helpline on 03000 030 555.

Benefits you might be entitled to:

  • Care and mobility
  • Unable to work
  • Universal credit
  • Conditions caused by work
  • Carers benefits
  • Top up benefits, including pensions, income support etc
  • Prescription costs
  • Help with heating costs

Care and mobility

If you have difficulties with daily living needs, getting around or need a carer’s help. This includes information on:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)

Read more about care and mobility benefits

People unable to work

There are 2 types of benefits that you could be eligible for if you cannot work because of your illness:

  • Information on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Read more about benefits for those unable to work

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment that is meant to help with living costs for those who have a low income or are out of work. Information about Universal Credit and when you might be entitled to claim.

Read more about Universal Credit

Conditions caused by work

If your condition is caused by work that you do, you could be entitled to compensation. This includes information on Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).

Read more about benefits for conditions caused by work

Carers benefits

This information is on the financial help available for carers, including:

  • The Carer’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Credit.

Read more about carers benefits

Top-up benefits

There are a number of top-up benefits that could aid you if you have a low income. Including:

  • Income Support
  • Tax Credits
  • Pension Credit
  • the new State Pension
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction.

Read more about top-up benefits

Prescription costs

Learn when you’re entitled to free prescriptions, and how a prescription prepayment certificate can reduce your costs.

Read more about prescription costs

Help with heating costs

It is important to stay warm in winter if you are living with a lung condition. Find out more about how to get help with your heating costs. Including information on:

  • Winter Fuel Payments
  • Cold Weather Payments
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme.

Read more about getting help with heating costs

Qualifying rules for benefits

Each benefit has different qualifying rules. But there are two main criteria:

  • Means-tested or non-means-tested – if a benefit is means-tested it will take into account your other benefits and income.
  • Contributory or non-contributory – for some benefits you need to have paid a certain amount of national insurance contributions.

Benefits cap

There’s a limit to the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefits cap.

You’re not affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household gets certain benefits such as Attendance Allowance (AA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Working Tax Credit.

Our helpline can give you more information, call 03000 030 555.

Do you live in Northern Ireland?

If you live in Northern Ireland, for more information please call our helpline on 03000 030 555.

Or take a look at the NI Direct page and the AdviceNI pages. You can also call the Benefit Enquiry Line 0800 232 1271 Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm or email

COPD Patient Assistance Programs

Simplefill’s mission is to help Americans get the assistance they need to meet their prescription medication costs. Learn more about our COPD patient assistance programs, and apply today.


What Is COPD?

COPD is short for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is the term now used to encompass emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and several other lung diseases. Nearly 30 million Americans are believed to suffer from COPD, though nearly half of them have never been diagnosed.

COPD is a progressive, potentially life-threatening disease, and people with a history of smoking are at particular risk. While the disease can be treated to help control symptoms, such as coughing and labored breathing and slow the progression of the disease, the damage to the lungs cannot be reversed. There is as yet no cure for COPD.

As a chronic disease, COPD requires lifelong medications once it is diagnosed. The cost of those medications can be very high, especially over a lifetime.

What COPD Medication Assistance Does Simplefill Provide?

Simplefill works with pharmaceutical companies and nonprofit organizations to help ease the financial burden on COPD patients who are having trouble paying for their medications. Each drug assistance program has its own eligibility criteria. The help available depends on the patient’s insurance and financial status.

Simplefill takes on the burden of finding and enrolling you in the assistance programs you qualify for. For someone already coping with the stress of a chronic illness, having Simplefill manage that process makes life that much easier.

We provide COPD assistance programs for common drugs like:

  • Advair
  • Spiriva
  • Symbicort
  • Dulera
  • Combivent
  • Anoro Ellipta
  • Trelegey
  • And more

How Do Different Types of COPD Medication Work?

The two main types of medications used in the treatment of COPD are bronchodilators and glucocorticosteroids.


Bronchodilators are inhaled medications that relax the muscles in the airways to allow more air to pass through them to make breathing easier. They are administered through an inhaler (a puff or two at a time) or nebulizer (prolonged inhalation of medication in vapor form).

Different bronchodilators work in different ways and are often prescribed for use together. Some of them are short-acting (lasting 4-6 hours) and are used only when needed to provide immediate relief. These are sometimes referred to as “rescue” inhalers. Examples of short-acting bronchodilators include Proair (albuterol), Atrovent (ipratropium), and Combivent (albuterol/ipratropium).

Other bronchodilators are longer acting (up to 12 hours) and are used daily to help prevent symptoms. These include Spiriva (tiotropium), Tudorza (aclidinium), and Serevent (salmeterol).


Glucocorticosteroids reduce inflammation in the airways. They may be taken in pill form or inhaled using an inhaler or nebulizer. Some are administered through injection. People with advanced COPD may be prescribed a glucocorticosteroid for daily use. In other cases, a glucocorticosteroid is prescribed for short-term use (a few days or weeks) during a flare-up of symptoms.

Glucocorticosteroids commonly prescribed for the treatment of COPD include Flovent (fluticasone), Millipred (prednisolone), and Pulmicort (budesonide).

Hybrid Medications

Some medications, such as Advair and Symbicort, combine a bronchodilator and a glucocorticosteroid in a single drug.

Phosphodiesterase-4 Inhibitors

Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors are sometimes prescribed in pill form to treat COPD patients with severe chronic bronchitis. These medications also help reduce inflammation and relax the muscles of the airways. Daliresp (roflumilast) is a common example of this type of drug.

How to Get COPD Prescription Assistance from Simplefill

To get started with Simplefill, apply online or by phone at 1(877)386-0206. One of our advocates will then contact you for a phone interview within 24 hours. During that interview, we’ll get the information we need to identify the COPD patient assistance programs you may qualify for. We’ll then handle the application process and, if you’re approved, get you enrolled.

Once you’re enrolled in one or more prescription assistance programs, Simplefill will remain your advocate moving forward. We’ll make sure your prescriptions are renewed as needed and keep your list of prescriptions up to date. If your doctor prescribes a new drug, we’ll make sure it’s added to the ones already covered by your COPD drug assistance program.

Apply Now

Apply to get started with Simplefill today! Let us help you get the financial assistance with the medications you need to help control your COPD symptoms and improve the quality of your life.



These tips are provided by various professional individuals. Please understand that the information is meant to provide ideas as to where you might obtain some assistance for your needs. Actual assistance is dependent upon the state/city involved and the application/ qualifications of the individual situation.


The first thing to remember is that you have paid taxes for most of your life. Much of these monies are put into funds to assist those in need. The people you will be requesting help from have families of their own and usually, somewhere in that family is a person who has needed help from somewhere. Many of us are a paycheck away from needing help, it is not any thing to feel ashamed of. Most of the people you will talk to have volunteered for the job simply to offer their help.

While all of us have our pride, we many times overlook the fact that over our lifetime, we EARNED the right to receive assistance from our government on a local, State and Federal basis. The contents of this page is for your benefit. While we cannot guarantee any benefits you might be entitled to, this will help you get to the right facilities to determine your qualifications for assistance.

If you happen to come across a worker who is unpleasant, remember that you definitely are their customer, ask for their supervisor or call the local official in charge, or even your Senator or Representative, many of them will have their aides call the local office and find out why you can’t get help ( it really shakes up the supervisors ).


Disability Benefits Guide

Social Security Disabiity Benefit Calculator

Click on DISABILITY EVALUATION UNDER SOCIAL SECURITY to display the qualifications for receiving Disability Benefits for Pulmonary Disease. In particular, Section 3.02 lists the FEV1 and/or ABG values which apply for COPD patients.

Click on PART 404–FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS AND DISABILITY INSURANCE (1950- ) to read the entire Disability Law.


The absolute worst thing that someone can when they get their hospital bill is to decide that the insurance company has already paid the hospital enough money or that your care wasn’t worth the price on the bill; and choose to ignore it.
You may be surprised by the relatively small payments most hospitals will accept to allow someone a reasonable chance of paying their bill.
There are some important things you need to know about hospital billing:

  1. By law, the hospital is required to attempt to collect the bill. This is especially true of Medicare. Medicare’s rationale being that if you accept the percentage that Medicare pays as payment in full, then your total reimbursement will be reduced to that 80% level, because Medicare is only obliged to cover 80%. Therefore the hospital will still be left with the responsibility to collect the 20% of the new lower rate.
  2. Most insurance companies, Medicare included negotiate for prices which are far below those that they are required to reveal to the beneficiary (a loop hole which is still acceptable by the Insurance Board). In the facility in which I work….the average reimbursement to the hospital from an insurance company is 0.56 on the dollar. So in fact, you really end up paying more than 20% of the total amount actually paid, because the insurance company rarely pays a full 80% even though that is how it appears on the beneficiary’s transmittal.
  3. You are entitled to an itemized bill upon request. That should mean one phone call to the billing office after you are discharged. Different insurance companies require the hospital to bundle or unbundle charges so what you read may not make sense. It is okay to call and ask for an explanation of a charge. * The billing rules change often and the people who enter the codes are human so mistakes do occur. Most of these are honest or careless errors not malicious efforts to defraud the system.
  4. Most facilities have social workers or case managers who can help someone apply for assistance if there is a real need. Many people are embarrassed to talk/ask about it… but that is what it is truly there for and there are people available to help walk someone through the whole process.
  5. Not for profit hospitals must provide a certain percentage of charity care in order to maintain there tax exempt status, so most are willing to negotiate.

Many times people get a denial from an insurance company and go ahead and pay for the uncovered services. There are two things to try first:

  1. Call the insurance company and see if it was a mistake. Many times resubmitting the bill gets it paid. Call the hospital and ask them to resubmit the charges.
  2. If the charges were really for something that you will need to pay privately, remember that all of the insurance companies (and the Amish who pay cash for everything) are negotiating with the hospital and so can you.

The most important thing to remember is that you must not ignore the bill. Call the billing department and make an honest attempt to address your issues or negotiate a fair payment schedule.
*It is important to know that with the new Medicaid back to work rules which cut coverage, charity care is on the rise. The cuts by the federal government are deep and most hospitals not the deep pockets that everyone thinks they are. Most successful hospitals operate with a 2-3% profit margin….I know of very few businesses that can make it with that kind of profit line. Hospitals are expensive places to run.
Healthcare dollars are a limited resource; and although most of us expect the latest and greatest, no one wants to pay more taxes assist hospitals in this effort. It is sad to say that although most insurance companies talk about the importance of wellness, few will pay for the programs that are developed to keep people well and the hospitals can’t afford to run wellness programs when the only thing that is reimbursed is taking care of illness. This is a cause that should be addressed by ALL OF US!*
Submitted by Kimberly R. Hunchuk, M Ed/RRT
Western Pennsylvania
(Kimberly is also the Assistant Hospital Administrator)


May offer homemaker or personal care assistants. Some programs have provisions that will pay a caregiver some very minimal amount per month for the care they provide to the person. ….again, this is very individualized from state to state.
Medical insurance for those who are in the poverty level. The rules differ from state to state. Medicaid often pays for a set number of prescriptions per month.
Food Stamps:
May help a lot if person is spending all money on medications.
Churches often provide assistance for their own members when the need is brought to the attention of the church. This assistance may be in the form of

  1. collections of Love Offerings to meet specific one time needs i.e. broken furnace
  2. volunteer work such a mowing lawns, grocery shopping, etc. for disabled members
  3. respite sitting for caregivers, so they may occasionally get out of the house
  4. help with occasional meals provided by church lady’s groups

Local churches often have programs that provide assistance for the needy community at large, not only their own members. Some services provided in some areas include: (note these services are highly individual, depending on church’s program)

  1. Fuel assistance programs
  2. Food banks
  3. One time financial assistance for medications, outstanding bills, and other emergency situations.
  4. Occasionally a church that provides community service will have a store room of donated medical equipment.

Local Electric Company:
Local electric companies usually have a provision that will they will not turn the electricity off for lack of payment if an individual in the home is on life support. Most seem to accept oxygen as life support if the doctor says it is required.
Veterans Administration:
All vets who are not receiving services from the VA need to call and see what is available. VA may provide assistance to vets, not only for medical care, but in some cases, for medications and medical supplies. VA often works in conjunction with other agencies, such as social services to assure the VET has needed assistance.
Community Food Banks:
Many communities, (almost all large cities) have a community based Food Bank. They usually provide assistance on a one time basis to individuals or families who need emergency assistance with getting food for the family.
Community Crisis Centers:
Some communities have “Crisis Centers”. They may provide a variety of services on a one time emergency basis. The services are different from town to town. Some possibilities include:

  1. Fuel and electrical assistance
  2. Food Bank services
  3. Pharmacy services
  4. Clothing, household item donations
  5. Storerooms of donated medical supplies
  6. Air conditioners for those who suffer from medical conditions that may cause them to be more vulnerable in extreme heat (heart disease, lung disease)

Community-Based Transportation services:
Most communities have this service. It normally will provide transportation for the elderly and disabled to get to medical appointments.
Disease Associations:
Some towns have their own local groups dedicated to helping those with certain diseases or conditions. Often these groups have donated medical equipment.
Drug Assistance Program:
Many pharmaceutical companies have “indigent medication” programs. Don’t let the word “indigent” throw you. That only means that your income is not enough to cover all your needs and that you do not have the money or insurance coverage to pay for your medications. See these sites:

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Senior Services Programs:
Most communities of at least moderate size have a Senior Services Program. This program often helps to coordinate all the other services in an area. Also, many Senior Services Programs have their own assistance programs, such as provision of personal care assistants.
Legal Assistance for the Elderly:
Many communities have this service. It is often under the auspices of the local Senior Services Program.
Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army has locations in many cities. The Army provide special assistance, at their discretion, in some cases of need.
Home Health Services:
If you qualify for home health services and are being visited by a nurse on a regular basis, you may also qualify for the services of a personal care assistant, or nurses aide, to help with personal care. Make sure to ask.
Hospice Home Services:
This program is available for those who have limited life expectancy. Services provided include nursing visits, nursing assistance visits, social worker, (also volunteer, chaplain if desired). The Hospice programs differ from city to city, but most pay for the medications related to the covered illness, and all medical supplies needed.
Submitted by:
Brenda Hoilman, RN

Page Last Updated: 10/17/2016

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