Cancer takes its toll on the patient and their families making them mentally, physically, and financially weak. Apart from the fatigue that cancer causes, one has to deal with paying the bills for the costly treatments for cancer.
Most people do not realize that there are a lot of financial assistance options available to help patients pay off their medical bills. It is also important to enroll in a good health insurance plan to cover your medical expenses. But even the best insurance plan will cover medical expenses only to a certain limit. Items such as hospital stay, co-payments, at-home nursing, and care and deductibles will have to be taken care of by the patient.
Selecting the Right Doctor and Hospital
The right healthcare team will make sure that you get the right treatment and care at a price that is affordable for you. Hospice stay can be very expensive so you should pay attention to the type of hospital and hospice you choose.
Your treatment team will consist of many team members including your personal physician, the oncologist, dietary service, hospice care, and many other departments that collaborate with each other to give you optimum care. Sometimes, asking around among your friends and family can give you a good idea about which hospital and doctor will be best suited for your condition.
There are hospitals that specialize in cancer care. If your condition requires specialized care then you need to search for a hospital that specifically treats cancer since not all hospitals are equipped to handle cancer-related treatments. You can write down a few questions to help you research the best cancer hospital in your areas such as the services offered, on-site oncology specialists, dedicated cancer treatment programs, and in-house cancer treatments. Here are a few other essential services that a cancer center should have:
- 24-hour specialist residents for cancer treatment
- Pathology lab
- Medical supplies
- Blood bank
- Diagnostic center
- Special diagnostic center for MRI, PET Scans, etc.
- Social service department
- Special cancer board
- Advanced instruments for cancer treatment procedures
- Rehabilitation services
As a cancer patient, it is important that you have all your finances in order along with the required insurance. There are many governmental as well as privately offered insurance plans that will aid you during your time of treatment.
Here are a few tips to manage your insurance effectively:
- Never let your health insurance expire
- Pay premiums on time
- Be well aware of your insurance plan and make sure it covers all the necessary aspects of your treatment. Read through the copy and detect how the plan works, what benefits are provided.
- File claims for all the medical expenses, even if you are unsure whether it is covered or not.
- In case if you have limited finances, contact a hospital finance counselor, a caseworker, or a social worker to help you make special arrangements
What to do if you are uninsured?
If you are uninsured here are a few tips that can help you:
- Find an independent broker who will be able to help you secure a reasonable benefits package.
- You could get group insurance if you or your wife are a part of an organization
- In 2010, the government has provided the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which covers those individuals who have no insurance for the last 6 months but have cancer or any other pre-existing ailment.
- Search for community health care plans
- If you fall under the lower income group or are unemployed, you could qualify for local benefits such as Medicaid.
Making use of all these tips will prove to be extremely helpful to cancer patients and their families in dealing with the financial aspect of cancer treatment.