• KarenG_WN's Avatar

    How did you deal with the financial aspects of cancer?

    Asked by KarenG_WN on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    How did you deal with the financial aspects of cancer?

    We've seen a lot of WhatNext-ers raising concerns about the costs of cancer. Whether you have insurance or not, please share your tips, ideas and/or concerns about the financial aspects of cancer. Did you win a battle with your insurance company? How? Did you find resources that could help? Where? What would you tell someone who has no idea how to pay for their care? Thank you!

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • saever's Avatar

      im just starting with the treatment on oct 18 of this year. i have not found any financial help.or insurance . i ve been looking on web sites insurances quoates.Went into federal medicare and medicaid for cancer going to try that today.

      over 9 years ago
    • mspinkladybug's Avatar

      no insurance I suggest clinical studies. i was blessed to have good insurance at the time we have since moved to another state and had to change carriers.
      Cancer treatment puts so many people into bankruptcy. stage 1 grade 3 breast cancer total cost of treatment 1/2 million dollars.......that includes all surgeries chemo etc.
      My new carrier sucks each time I go to the cancer center it cost 1,500.00 with high deductible for being out of network we get stuck with the bill. due to the high cost some people do not seek treatment and just accept faith..
      everyone who yells we do not need healthcare reform has not had to deal with a life threatening illness.

      over 9 years ago
    • lovekitties' Avatar

      For those who are uninsured, most assistance which may be available is based on income. Some states have a 'catastrophic' insurance pool that you can join at a cost. Check with your hospital financial assistance person. If the hospital is a non-profit they may be of help. Talk openly with your doctors/surgeons. Some will reduce their fee. A big expense is tests/scans and the like. If you get assistance through your hospital be sure to have all testing done there if possible to help reduce costs. If you don't qualify for financial assistance, prepare a letter to your doctors/surgeons and others who provide care to let them know that you will be able to pay X dollars per month on their bill. Even a small payment will show a willingness to pay and perhaps keep the collection agents from the door.

      over 9 years ago
    • mamajltc's Avatar

      There are many resources that may be able to help. Colon Cancer Alliance, American Cancer Society are 2 great ones. Also, if you get in touch with the human resource department of the hospital or clinic, they may have services to help as well. Another resource, is the social workers at the clinic or hospital (we got temporary discounts on parking when my husband was in his early treatment and we were there all the time).

      over 9 years ago
    • CherylHutch's Avatar

      I shudder at wondering how you, my American friends, deal with the financial aspects because cancer, no matter what kind you have, is NOT a cheap illness. I have no solutions other that to suggest thinking of marrying a Canadian and moving to Canada :/ I know that sounds flippant, but I can't think of how else one can pay for the American treatments short of winning a lottery... but even then, you have to pay taxes on any lottery winnings, right?? They've got you coming and going.

      If the question is a generic one asking how any of us cope... I am one of those Canadians people talk about who have National Healthcare. And yes, try as hard as I might, I can't understand the attitude of people not wanting National Healthcare for fear it is "socialistic"(??) and then other reasons I've heard are people are bound and determined that they aren't going to pay for those who aren't working. They feel the unemployed should just get out there and get themselves a job, a job that has healthcare as a company benefit. Well, nowadays so many people are out of work... it could be anyone at any time and more and more are going to be unemployed before it gets better. So all the more reason that wouldn't it be a great stress reducer if, besides all the problems people have during these hard times of no jobs, that everyone and everyone's children were covered for any and every illness that came along?

      Think about it... if everyone is covered from birth to death, then there would be no such thing, ever, of a "pre-condition". I have been fighting cancer for almost 5 years (it will be 5 years this December). I have had two hospital stays, umpteen different chemo treatments in the 5 years, radiation, surgeries, I've lost track of how many PET and CAT scans/Xrays/Ultrasounds, not to mention blood tests and specialist appointments. All totalled, it has cost me $200 in hospital tv rentals for the 8 weeks I was in the hospital. There has been some out of pocket that I've had to pay for some prescriptions, but my extended health and provincial pharmacare covers most of my prescriptions and the BC Cancer Agency pays for all my chemo drugs. I do not have to get loans from my bank, I do not need to mortgage my home, nor have I touched one dollar of my savings and retirement money. But yes, we do pay higher taxes and our gas prices are much higher than anywhere in the States because the extra taxes go towards covering everyone with affordable healthcare insurance.

      So, knowing that the US does not have National healthcare and from what I understand, the majority don't want it (I think you'll find the ones who don't want it are healthy and don't have any loved ones who are ill... or they are very wealthy and can afford their own insurance), I'm not sure what the answer is. Some of the others have suggested getting in touch with the hospital and see if they have any programs... and whether you are qualified for them. You might also ask your oncologist if there are any programs he/she thinks you might be eligible for. I just think it's so sad that people have to grovel and beg to be accepted into programs so that you can get treatment to save their lives. Please come back and let us know if youy found a program through your hospital and/or oncologist... and I'm sure if others have any other suggestions, they will pop by to let you know.

      Good luck!


      over 9 years ago
    • CathysSis' Avatar

      Hi Karen,
      I started a donation website to help my sister with fee's outside her insurance.


      The $4,000 goal was for food, child care (for her daughter) airfare, to stay with us for a month to care for her and help her learn better nutrition as well as alternative therapy. (Now that we have researched alternative therapies, Gerson, SD Cancer Center, Reno facility, the $ goal was a HUGE underestimate. Sis is still coming to stay but now we don't know what to do.)

      There are other sites to help get the word out for donations, I checked out 4, but this one only takes 5% of each donation (unfortunately), which was the best for what I was looking for. Also be aware that Paypal takes a %. To date, with the two, Paypal and GoFundMe, I have paid $500 from the donations received to them so far. It seems like a lot but the site looks professional, connects you to Facebook and Twitter, and without those I wouldn't have gotten as close to our goal as we have.

      I also found another site for keeping people/donators/ updated on my sister's progress. I also linked it to my sister's donation site on GFM


      I like this because it doesn't interfere with GFM's basic info about why we are looking for donations. If you post an update on your GFM site, it becomes the top post and moves the important (I feel) main story below it. Then new visitors have to scroll down to see the info. I looked at many sites on GFM before I made my sister's site.

      I am also going to contact some local churches to see if they would sponsor a bake sale in honor of my sister. I hope some of this info helps you.

      Also thank you DaveWaz for suggesting I post here xo

      Good luck, Coby Burns

      over 9 years ago
    • copland16's Avatar

      I was out of work after my mastectomy for 8 weeks unpaid. (I had only been with the company 6 months and was not eligible for short term benefits). I have to say that the financial part was the most stressful part for me. I always believed I would be OK as far as my breast cancer was concerned. But I was pregnant with my first child and the financial worries were most concerning. I met with a social worker who referred me to the financial counselor at the hospital. Between the two of them we filed for MassHealth, filed for WIC, filed for grants and other gift cards.
      I recieved a $250 check and grocery and gas gift cards that were important in the beginning. My younger brother paid our rent for 3 months and then we found out his wife was pregnant so that ended. My manager collected donations for me across New England. All of this was hard to accept but we were grateful.
      I went back to work part time, which was helpful emotionally and financially. My job allowed me to work my scedule around my chemotherapy treatments. I didn't work during my low immune days or when I was taking anti-nauseau medication for 4 days after treatment.
      In the end my husband and I declared bankruptcy. For the year I was in treatment I made only 25% of my salary.
      Now I am back to work full time and we are back to reaching our new financial goals. You can get through this aspect of cancer. Don't be afraid to ask for help and then accept it.

      over 9 years ago
    • Beverley's Avatar

      There is a foundation called "Healthwell" which helped me pay for my nulasta shots which were $6000/therapy. There are stipulations but they are worth checking out.

      over 9 years ago
    • stillkickin's Avatar

      Having trouble paying for chemo? I was, and I found out today that my oncologist's office contacted the drug company that makes Xeloda, and they have agreed to help with the cost of the medication. Amazingly good news for me. My advice to anyone struggling with that big drug cost is to take it up with your doctor. They may be able to help you in same way that my doctor helped me.

      over 9 years ago
    • KarenG_WN's Avatar

      Hi everyone -

      WhatNext-er Eebee just shared some great resources on another post that I wanted to share with you:

      The American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) has a great list of helpful resources: http://bit.ly/nzlqcB

      Here's another great resource for help with finances: http://patientresource.net/Financial_Resources.aspx

      BenefitsCheckUp is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. http://bit.ly/blgyX

      I hope this helps!


      over 9 years ago
    • Glenda's Avatar

      Still dealing with it. We had BCBS when he was still working, and we still owed over $15000 and that did not include any treatments just test. Then when he got terminated, no ins. Finally got Cobra started two weeks ago. And they say we owe $61000 as of yesterdays bills. and he has had only one treatment and this does not include the port doctor or the other doctor he was referred to and the cancer center does not like to be the primary doctor so we got to get one of those and they are saying he needs to go to a dentist because of jaw problem so we have to get one of those but Cobra does not take care of that. And the medicines we have to pick up at pharmacy are crazy. And he has high blood pressure so that has to be taken care of at a primary doctor. We don't have one yet. Cobra cost just for him not me, no vision, no dental, no lot of stuff over $500 a month. No income for him and I only get SS. We had a little savings which is about to go just to live. but that is why he cannot get medicaid or welfare of any sort. We sold his boat, so that helped a little . Of course you have to think of special eats

      over 9 years ago

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