Systemic Sclerosis with Interstitial Lung Disease Fund Now Open at HealthWell Foundation


Fund Provides Medication Copayment and Insurance Premium Assistance to Eligible Patients

GERMANTOWN, Md. — January 30, 2023 — The HealthWell Foundation®, an independent non-profit that provides a financial lifeline for inadequately insured Americans, is proud to announce that it has opened a new fund to provide financial assistance to individuals living with systemic sclerosis with interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD). Through the new fund, HealthWell will provide up to $9,000 in medication copayment or insurance premium assistance to eligible patients with annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level for the management of their condition.  

Scleroderma is a rare disease that affects connective tissue and the vascular system by producing excessive collagen. This causes fibrosis in the skin (localized) or internal organs (systemic sclerosis).  The result can be disfigurement or disability, and it can be life-threatening. No one knows what causes scleroderma and there is no cure. Systemic sclerosis is one of the most difficult autoimmune diseases to manage. The disease primarily affects females from 20 to 50 years of age but can also occur in children, men and older adults. More severe and earlier onset has been observed in African Americans and Native Americans. Diffuse scleroderma is the most severe form of systemic sclerosis and involves fibrosis of major organs, especially the lungs. Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is the development of inflammation and/or scarring around the air sacs of the lungs. Worsening or progressive scarring can make it difficult for the lungs to work properly, resulting in declined lung function.  

“Early diagnosis and treatment for SSc-ILD is critical in managing symptoms and disease progression. Proper treatment of the condition requires people living with this condition to adhere to strict protocols involving multiple medications,” said Mary J. Wheatley, IOM, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the National Scleroderma Foundation. “The ability to access and afford the medications necessary to manage the condition are often associated with financial challenges that many are unable to overcome. Forgoing treatment due to the inability to afford it can result in life-threatening, possibly life-ending, circumstances. We are grateful to HealthWell Foundation for offering critical assistance so those living with SSc-ILD can obtain the life-sustaining medications they require while mitigating the financial burden they face in paying for them.”       

“SSc-ILD is a serious, chronic illness for which there is no known cause or cure. Medications are available to aide in managing symptoms and slow the progression of the disease but are out of reach for those who simply cannot afford them,” commented Krista Zodet, HealthWell Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. “Through the new fund, we hope to eliminate the financial dilemma and accompanying stress accessing proper care imparts on this patient community. No one should go without critical medical treatments simply because of the cost. Thank you to our dedicated donors who recognized this unmet need. We are humbled to be able to provide the financial assistance these patients so desperately need so they can start and stay on their treatment.” 

To determine eligibility and apply for financial assistance, visit HealthWell’s Systemic Sclerosis with Interstitial Lung Disease page. Note that all new fund openings and fund re-openings occur at 11:00 a.m. Eastern (8:00 a.m. Pacific) Monday – Friday. To learn how you can support this or other HealthWell programs, visit 

About the HealthWell Foundation
A nationally recognized, independent non-profit organization founded in 2003, the HealthWell Foundation has served as a safety net across over 85 disease areas for more than 822,000 underinsured patients. Since its inception, HealthWell has provided over $3.3 billion in financial support through more than 1.3 million grants to access life-changing medical treatments patients otherwise would not be able to afford. HealthWell provides financial assistance to adults and children facing medical hardship resulting from gaps in their insurance that cause out-of-pocket medical expenses to escalate rapidly; HealthWell assists with the treatment-related cost-sharing obligations of these patients. HealthWell ranked 34th on the 2022 Forbes list of The 100 Largest U.S. Charities and was recognized for its 100 percent fundraising efficiency. For more information, visit

About the National Scleroderma Foundation 

A relentless force in finding a cure and improving the lives of people affected by scleroderma, the National Scleroderma Foundation advances medical research, promotes disease awareness, and provides support and education to people with scleroderma, their families and support networks. Supported by a network of thousands of individuals across the United States, the Foundation is the leading nonprofit funder of peer-reviewed research to discover the cause, understand the mechanisms, and overcome scleroderma forever. National Scleroderma Foundation has been recognized for its commitment to financial transparency and reporting with six consecutive years of four-star ratings by Charity Navigator, and a platinum seal of approval by Candid. For more information, visit 


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