A cancer diagnosis is always scary and it takes time to process what you are being told. People are often in denial about the situation, to begin with because they don’t want to face the fact that their life is in danger. It’s a horrible situation for the entire family to be in but if you are going to get healthy again, you need to come to terms with it and start focusing on recovery. Unfortunately, when people get over the initial shock, they then realize that they have to deal with the financial side of things, which adds a lot more stress. 

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Healthcare costs are on the rise and if you require long-term treatment, it can put a serious strain on your finances. Things are especially difficult if you have to take time out of work and you lose earnings while you are trying to cover the cost of your treatment. But it’s crucial that you think about how to deal with the financial side of things so you can avoid any stress and focus on your health. Here’s how you can manage the cost of cancer treatments. 

Speak To Your Doctor About The Cost 

People often make the mistake of failing to talk about the cost with their doctor from the outset. Doctors are often reluctant to talk about money too, which means that patients are completely unprepared for how much it will cost. Forward planning makes it so much easier to deal with the cost of treatment because you can budget your money. So, after your diagnosis, have a frank conversation with your doctor about how much the treatment will cost. Make sure that you ask them what your different options are and whether there are ways that you can reduce the costs. Your doctor will be happy to work with you to find the best ways to manage the cost. If they are unsure about the exact costs, they will be able to refer you to other specialists that can give you the information you need. If you don’t have these conversations early on, you will be completely unprepared when you get your first bill. 

Read Your Insurance Policy 

Your insurance policy should cover some of the cost of treatment, but most policies won’t cover the entire cost. If you assume that your insurance has you covered, you will be in for a shock when your first medical bills arrive. So, in order to plan properly, you need to read your insurance policy in full. Check exactly what you are covered for and what you will have to pay for yourself. Then, you will have a clear idea of what you need to budget for. Insurance policies can be complicated, so make sure that you read all of the small print in full to check for any hidden clauses. If you are still unsure about what is covered on your policy, get in touch with your insurance company and ask them to clarify things for you. 

Consider Your Legal Options 

In some cases, you may have legal options that can help you pay for your cancer treatment. Some forms of cancer are caused by environmental factors, like Mesothelioma. This is a form of cancer that is caused by breathing in asbestos. If you are diagnosed with this form of cancer because you were exposed to asbestos over a long period, you may be eligible to make a claim. Get in touch with a national law firm that specializes in Mesothelioma cases and ask for some advice. If you can make a claim and get a payout, this money will help you cover the cost of treatments and really take the pressure off. 

You may also be able to make a medical malpractice claim. If your cancer went undiagnosed for a long time and was allowed to progress, you will require more extensive treatment and that’s going to be more expensive. However, if you believe that the doctor has missed things that they should have picked up on, you may be able to make a claim against them. Make sure that you gather all of your medical records and take them to a lawyer. If you win the claim, you can get them to cover your medical costs for you. 

This isn’t always an option, but if you think that you may have a legal case, you should explore it and get some advice because it could really help with your financial situation. 

Negotiate Your Medical Bills 

When you get a medical bill, you shouldn’t just pay it straight away because you may be able to reduce the amount. People don’t always realize that they can negotiate their medical bills and get a better price on them. Often, there are mistakes on the bill and you may be charged for things that should be covered by your insurance or even treatments that you never had in the first place. Whenever you get a new bill, make sure that you read through it carefully to check that everything is in order. If there is something that you are unsure about, contact the medical practice and your insurance company to query it. In many cases, they will send you a revised bill with a lower amount. But if you just pay it straight away, you could end up paying more than you need to. 

If you query the bill and you are sure that it is wrong but they still won’t change it, you should seek legal advice. Never pay a bill that you think is wrong, even if you are pressured, because as soon as you agree to pay the amount, you limit your options to reclaim that money afterward and it could land you in financial trouble. 

Look Into Your Options For Support 

There is support out there for people that are struggling to pay their medical bills, so make sure that you look into all of your options. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid programs that are designed to help people on a low income pay for their medical costs. The Health Insurance Marketplace is also there to help people find the best insurance policies. In some instances, they offer subsidies to help people pay their insurance premiums. The federal government has programs to help people pay for prescription medication too. 

Your eligibility all depends on your financial situation, so you may not qualify for all of these assistance programs. However, if you are out of work while you are undergoing cancer treatment, there is a strong chance that you can get some assistance. But you won’t get any help unless you ask for it, so make sure that you apply for any support that is out there. 

Speak To Your Employer

Being out of work during your treatment puts a lot more pressure on your financial situation. So, you should speak to your employer and see if there is anything that they can do to help. Once you have used your paid sick leave, you may be in a tough position. But if you talk to your boss, you could work out a situation where you work from home or use your paid vacation days etc. You’d be surprised how willing they will be to help you and make your recovery and transition back into work as easy as possible. 

The financial burden involved with cancer treatment makes the whole situation more stressful. But if you keep these things in mind, you can stay on top of your medical costs while you recover.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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