A cancer diagnosis can be very stressful, creating many unexpected financial concerns. Is your insurance going to cover the cost of treatment? What if you don’t have insurance? What additional expenses can you expect? Whether you are insured or not a cancer diagnosis will impact your current budget. It will need to be modified to include costs related to your cancer diagnosis and care. There are many important considerations to keep in mind when talking with your insurance provider and healthcare provider’s billing department.
5 Tips for Talking to Your Insurance Provider
- Before you begin treatment, review your insurance plan to estimate what treatment will cost you. Likely a portion of your treatment costs will be an out-of-pocket expense. You may be able to get this cost taken out of your bank account/pay check or paid automatically by your credit card.
- Your deductible will also have to be met before your insurance company will start paying for care. This cost is a common burden for cancer patients starting treatment. As soon as possible determine what your co-payment will be for each appointment and treatment. The sooner you determine what your co-payment cost is the easier it will be to budget for future treatments and doctor appointments.
- Most insurance plans have the option for cancer patients to be assigned a case manager. When contacting your insurance provider, ask if this service is available. A case manager will be familiar with coverage options and be able to answer all pertinent questions.
- If your insurance company does not provide case managers, ask to speak to the same representative each time you call.
- If your insurance is employer sponsored, your company’s Human Resources department can also help answer questions about your coverage.
- You might also find it necessary to enhance your insurance coverage with a supplemental plan.
5 Tips for Navigating Costs at the Doctor
- When you begin treatment your doctor will give you a prescribed treatment plan. Take this information to the billing department and get an approximation of the bill you will receive for your prescribed treatment plan. The more information you can get the better prepared you can be financially in terms of budgeting your funds.
- While discussing your case with the billing department see if there are any ways you might be able to save money. Most facilities will be willing to give you a discount on your bill if you are able to pay it in full. You can also discuss a payment plan, an option where you pay a certain amount each month towards your bill.
- There are also questions you can ask your doctor and healthcare team.
- Are there options for treatment that are less expense?
- Are these options just as effective?
- Are you eligible for a clinical trial?
- Many hospitals have options for financial assistance. Determine if there is someone you can talk to about identifying these options. Is there assistance you can apply for? Does the hospital implement a reduced cost program? If so, what are the eligibility requirements?
- Additional expenses to consider:
- Child Care
- Nutritional Supplements
- Additional prescriptions
- Prosthesis or Wigs
- Household chore services (cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.)
If you don’t have insurance, below are a number of sites where you can find additional financial resources:
- State Medicaid: www.cms.gov
- Medicare: www.medicare.gov and www.cms.gov
- Affordable Care Act: www.healthcare.gov/law/
- Hill Burton: www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton/
- Your Local Health Department and Local Free Clinics: freeclinics.us/clinics/search
|Blog Author: Bailey Groetsch, LMSW|