Tips For Covering Healthcare Expenses

Cancer treatment is very expensive, so explore all your options for covering healthcare expenses to ensure that you find all possible sources of financial assistance.

Cancer, Cost and Health Insurance

If you have health insurance, find out what medical services your insurance company covers and what procedures to follow to maximize coverage. For example, the insurance company may cover a particular service or treatment if you first obtain a recommendation from your doctor.

Clarify your insurance company’s role in covering healthcare expenses. Ask the following questions:

  • Can the patient see a particular doctor or does the doctor have to be selected from a list of providers?
  • Does insurance coverage change for inpatient vs. outpatient treatments?
  • Which expenses does the insurance company cover and which must the patient cover?
  • Which services, medications, visits and procedures require a co-pay or deductible?
  • Who calls the insurance company prior to treatment: the doctor or the patient?

Keep all medical information in case you need it for an insurance claim. Be sure to submit claims properly and call the insurance company if you’re in any doubt. If your claim is denied, call the insurance company and find out whether they’ll reconsider your claim if you provide additional information.

Additional Financial Assistance

If you don’t have health insurance, you may qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or Medigap, a private health insurance policy available to individuals who are eligible for Medicare. Medigap covers additional services that Medicare doesn’t cover. Many national seniors’ organizations and cancer foundations assist eligible individuals who need help covering healthcare expenses. The National Cancer Institute’s website has a list of organizations that provide financial assistance.

Most hospitals and large medical centers employ patient advocates or social workers who help patients and their families get the cancer financial help they need. Ask your doctor to refer you to a hospital social worker or advocate.

Some pharmaceutical companies offer Prescription Assistance Programs to help subsidize the cost of cancer medications for patients who are unable to pay for them.

Myeloma Cancer: Financial Help

These are useful tips for covering healthcare expenses:

  • Ask family members to pitch in financially or give you a loan.
  • Check all medical bills to make sure all items are correct.
  • Consult a financial advisor.
  • Consider working from home to bring in additional income.
  • Contact your utility companies and find out whether they have financial assistance programs for people who are having trouble making payments.
  • Create a monthly budget and cut back on any unnecessary expenses.
  • Deduct eligible medical expenses from your taxes.
  • Find out if any caregivers qualify for any tax exemptions or local assistance programs.
  • Look into setting up a payment plan for credit card or medical bills.
  • Talk to the hospital about negotiating a lower price for medical services.

Resources

American Cancer Society. (2009). Health insurance and financial assistance for the cancer patient. Retrieved October 18, 2010, from http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002562-pdf.pdf

International Myeloma Foundation. (2002, March 19). Now you are a caregiver. Retrieved October 18, 2010, from http://myeloma.org/IndexPage.action?tabId=1&menuId=0&indexPageId=39& parentLinkId=507&categoryId=0&gParentType=nugget&gParentId=12&parent IndexPageId=5&parentCategoryId=29

National Comprehensive Cancer Network. (n.d.) Finances. Retrieved October 18, 2010, from http://www.nccn.com/life-with-cancer/finances-and-financial-assistance.html