Local and National Organizations
There are several national and local service organizations that help people with cancer who are facing financial challenges. Learn more about these organizations, which can assist with everything from finances to offering rides and housing.
Health Insurance Coverage
Living with cancer can be very costly, and not having health insurance can make paying for appointments, treatments, and scans challenging. Stress, uncertainty, and worry are very common feelings to have in this situation. But, you should not allow the lack of insurance to stop you from getting treatment. There are many ways to get health insurance—here are a few places to help you get started:
If you are over 65 years or have been considered disabled by the Social Security Administration for two years, you may be eligible for Medicare. There are four components to Medicare, each differing in what coverage is provided. Learn about each to understand which would be able to provide you with the best care. Find out more about Medicare.
Medicaid is a state-administered health insurance program that provides millions of Americans with free or low-cost health coverage. In the states that have chosen to expand Medicaid, it covers resident children and adults below 138% of the federal poverty level. Find out if your state has expanded Medicaid, and apply.
Employer or Union
If you or your spouse has a job that offers health insurance, you may be eligible to receive it or buy into it. If you had insurance, but have lost your job, you may be eligible for COBRA. COBRA is a law that allows you to keep your insurance for 18 months or longer.
College or University
If you are currently a full-time or part-time student, contact your university to find out if they provide coverage.
While living with lung cancer, you can experience pain, nausea, difficulty breathing, and a heightened sensitivity to other illnesses. This can affect your ability to work, which can have a big impact on your income.
The Social Security Administration offers disability benefits to people with serious illnesses or injuries. The SSA distributes benefits from its two main programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Provides Social Security retirement benefits early to workers who become disabled. In order to apply for SSDI, you need to have enough work credits based on taxable employment to be covered for Social Security purposes.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Awards benefits on the basis of financial need. Benefits are provided to adults and children who are disabled, blind, or have limited income and resources. Proof of limited income will be needed.
Learn more about each of these programs.
Changes in Income
When you receive a cancer diagnosis, financial considerations may not be the first thing that come to mind. But, if you decide to stop working, there could be a decrease in income, which could be worrisome when it comes to paying for treatment. Taking control of your finances may be the best way to prevent future financial obstacles.
- Track your income and all expenses. You want to know how much money is coming in and how much is being spent. Next, try contacting your gas, electric, and internet providers to set up payment plans.
- Keep track of medical bills. The possibility of going into debt, especially medical debt, can be overwhelming when you are trying to focus on recovery. Get in contact with a case manager or financial advisor who can assist you.
- Inform your creditors. If paying bills becomes a problem, it’s best to address the issue early, before it becomes a bigger one. Some creditors and nonprofit credit counseling services will often work with you to best address your specific needs.
- Ask for help. Figuring out finances may cause a lot of stress. Consider seeking an oncology social worker. Social workers are licensed professionals who counsel people and provide emotional support.
Consider researching the pharmaceutical company associated with your treatment. Some pharmaceutical companies, like AstraZeneca, have programs that provide people with assistance to help them pay for their treatments. Learn more about AstraZeneca Access 360TM financial coverage program.
There are other programs that may be able to provide financial assistance for medication and treatments.
Planning for the Cost of Long-Term Care
Uncertainty about the future can be stressful but making plans with a loved one may help provide you both with a sense of control over the situation. When thinking about the future, important questions to ask yourself may be: Where do you want to receive end-of-life care? And, what’s the best way to prepare for that financially?
The most common choices are the hospital, your home, or a hospice center. A hospice is a system of care provided by a team of healthcare professionals to the terminally ill and their families.
Hospice care can be given at home, a hospital, or a hospice care facility. Hospice care is recommended when life expectancy is six months or less. To learn more about hospice care, call the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization at 1-800-658-8898. Visit nhpco.org to find a hospice program in your community.