With the start of a new benefit year, many patients will soon start to see soaring bills for their out-of-pocket responsibility. And while identifying assistance for patients is always time sensitive during this period, nothing is more urgent than securing highly competitive foundation funding — especially for government-insured patients. The most in-demand copay funds are notorious for closing within days or even hours.
Over the past year, non-profit foundations have introduced patient waitlists with the goal of providing equitable opportunities to secure funding. PAN Foundation, The Assistance Fund, and Good Days now allow patients to join the waitlist of a closed disease fund, with the promise of a prioritized invitation to apply when funding becomes available. According to published rules, the foundations will then open funds for general applicants if all waitlisted patients have been processed and any funding remains available.
Waitlist Trends and Capacity
Given how quickly foundation funds are exhausted, it’s easy to assume that the waitlists would also be highly competitive. But an assessment of waitlist trends suggests that this may not be the case. Over the past nine months of waitlist usage at PAN Foundation, for example, the waitlist accounted for all grant recipients in only 15% of funding rounds (9 of 61). In the remaining 85% of cases, funds opened to the general public after the waitlist had been fully processed — suggesting that every patient on the waitlist received a grant. When looking specifically at the highest demand funds — those that average fewer than ten days open per round — we still see that in over 75% of cases, all waitlisted patients were processed before the fund proceeded to open to the general public.
It’s important to note that fund openings are at the discretion of the foundation, and there are cases where a relatively small number of waitlisted patients were the only ones to receive a grant. But based on the track record so far, there is clearly an opportunity for navigators to help their patients by taking advantage of waitlists.
Making the Most of Waitlists
If you’re not taking advantage of waitlists today, there are a few easy steps to get started:
1. Get to Know Your Waitlist Options
Not all foundations offer waitlists today, but a quick scan of each foundation's website can tell you if the option is available. In the table below, we’ve captured the current foundation waitlists at the time of writing. When you come across a patient who’s eligible for a closed fund from these sponsors, be sure to guide the patient through the signup process or add them to the waitlist yourself.
If you’re a current Vivor user, be sure to look for the Waitlist Available badge on any closed fund. You’ll also see a Waitlist Instructions option in your Apply Now menu.
Current foundation waitlists at the time of writing:
2. Prioritize Waitlist Notifications
When foundations begin accepting applications off the waitlist, there’s a finite enrollment period before they’ll move on to the next patient or the general public. This is generally a 48 hour window. If your patient has enrolled themselves, be sure they are regularly checking the email address used.
If you’re a Vivor user, you can receive personalized alerts by selecting the On Waitlist checkbox of any relevant enrollment record. Vivor will notify you in-app and by email whenever you have a waitlisted patient whose enrollment period has opened.
Contact us to learn more about how Vivor can help you take advantage of foundation assistance.