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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


Free, or low cost, air or ground transportation, or lodging, may be available when traveling for treatment. For information, see: 

NOTE: If your health insurer does not want to pay for travel for treatment, consider filing for an exception. If it  is not granted, consider appealing.  We tell you how. Note: even if you are successful in getting your insurer to pay some of the costs, you may be subject to balance billing for the remainder of the costs.

Air Transport

There are a few nonprofit organizations that fly both adults and children for free to obtain a diagnosis or for treatment. Some airlines encourage people to donate mileage which can be used by people with medical needs but financial limitations.

Qualifications vary by organization. At the least, requirements generally include:

  • Financial need.
  • Proof of medical need.
  • Medical clearance to fly.

Most programs require that you be able to walk, sit and stand with little or no assistance, and that you do not have medical needs while in flight.

Amount of time between completion of paperwork and flight depends on the organization. Current range is 5 to 30 business days.

Some services also supply air and/or ground ambulance - though generally not for free.

It is suggested that you have your doctor's contact information available when you make the call (including fax number) as well as fax and/or e mail capability for yourself.

  • Air Care Alliance: a nationwide organization with volunteer pilots. The Alliance includes a central listing of free national and regional air transportation services provided by volunteer pilots and charitable aviation groups. See www.AirCareAll.or offsite linkg or call 888.260.9707
  •, is a nonprofit organization that matches people in need with free flights. See: offsite link or call: 877.621.7177.
  • AirLifeLine, is a nonprofit organization of over 1,500 private pilots. They donate their time, aircraft and fuel. Contact AirLifeLine National Office, at offsite link or Tel. 800.446.1231 or 916.641.7800 (50 Fullerton Court # 200, Sacramento, CA 95825).
  • Angel Flight offsite link. Free flights for cancer patients
  • Cancer Hawk offers a list of organizations that give free airfare to patients with cancer. offsite link
  • Corporate Angel Network:
    • Provides free transportation for cancer patients using the empty seats on corporate jets. If you have a condition other than cancer, it's still worth calling. 
    • You must be able to walk up and down the steps to a private plane without assistance, and do not require oxygen, IV or any other form of life support during the flight. 
    • See: offsite link or call in White Plains, NY: 866.328.1313 or 914.3281313.
  • LifelinePilots: Provides free air transportation on small, private aircraft for health care and other humanitarian needs; 800-822-7972, 309-697-6282, Byerly Terminal, Suite 302, Greater Peoria Regional Airport, 6100 W. Dirksen Parkway,Peoria, IL 61607 Website: offsite link
  • Mercy Medical Airlift lists organizations which provide free transportation, including on a regional basis.. See: offsite link
  • Miracle Flights For Kids flies children who are struggling with serious cancers and debilitating diseases to specialized medical treatment centers across the U.S. Miracle missions are coordinated by purchasing commercial airline tickets for sick children and their parents. See: offsite link or call 800.FLY. 1711
  • National Patient Travel Center, a nonprofit service located in Virginia Beach, Virginia is a clearinghouse that refers people in need of medical treatment to programs that fly people in financial need (and an escort to accompany them) throughout the U.S. Contact the center via offsite link or call: 800.296.1217.
  • Operation Liftoff provides air transport for children with life-threatening diseases to specialized care and treatment centers. See: offsite link or call 314.298.9770
  • Skywish, a combination of Delta Airlines and United Way. Transports people for cancer treatment via miles donated by mileage members. Contact your local United Way or United Way of America, Tel.: 800.UWA.2757. You can find contact information for your local United Way at, click on "Find A United Way."
  • The Volunteer Pilots Association is a charitable nonprofit organization providing air transportation to needy people who must travel to obtain medical treatment. Patients who do not require medical attention during their flight and who can enter and exit the aircraft with only limited assistance are eligible. Contact Volunteer Pilots Association at offsite link, or Tel. 412.221.1374 Email: info at volunteerpilots dot org.

To Learn More

Ground Transportation

Angel Bus is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing compassionate, non-emergency long-distance ground transportation to patients in need. Angel Bus utilizes motor coaches and their volunteer drivers to fulfill our mission. To learn more, see: offsite linkor call: 757.333.0084

Free or Low Cost Lodging For Patients and Their Families

For free or low cost lodging when traveling for a second opinion or for treatment, consider the following:

  • Free lodging
    • The American Cancer Society has free housing for patients and caregivers who travel for treatment in Hope Lodges in many cities. In addition to housing, the facilities feature communal kitchens, and activity rooms. They also have support services. There is no charge. Eligibility requirements vary by location. To find a Hope Lodge, offsite link or Tel.: 800.ACS.2345
    • American Cancer Society can also help patients find free rooms in private hotels through its resource finder offsite link
    • Free or discounted rooms are available at facilities run by the Healthcare Hospitality Network offsite link
    • Patients under the age of 21 and their families can find free lodging at Ronald McDonald House Charitie offsite links
    • Military families can find housing at Fisher Houses offsite link
  • Some states' Medicaid Programs pay for temporary lodging if a patient has to travel for treatment.
  • Many cancer centers have facilities for people who are staying for treatment for a period of time. Charges are low. If a center doesn't have its own facility, it likely has arrangements with nearby hotels or B and Bs so you can stay for a discounted price.
  • Many hotels offer discounted "medical rates.". Some even provide rooms for free.
  • Organizations that help find housing include the following:
    • The National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses helps patients and caregivers locate housing around the country. See: offsite link
    • Check the web site of Joes House: offsite link or call 877-563-7468. The organization lists options for patients and their families, from discounted hotel rooms to free apartments.
  • NOTE: Check your health insurance policy. It may provide travel and lodging benefits.

If You Are Considering Traveling Abroad For Diagnosis And/Or Treatment

Travel outside or inside the U.S. for medical reasons is known as Medical Tourism. To learn about Medical Tourism, click here.

For general information about travel for people with a health condition, including how to prepare, how to travel, and what to do at your destination(s), click here.