Difficulty managing the cost of their cancer care stressed three out of four patients, according to a study recently completed by the Cancer Support Community. In addition two out of three said their health care team didn’t discuss financial aspects of care with them.
In an effort to help patients struggling with cancer expense, the Cancer Support Community has just released Frankly Speaking about Cancer: Coping with the Cost of Care.
The book provides information for people without health insurance and, for those with insurance, help understanding how to manage costs covered by insurance and what might be necessary to pay out-of-pocket.
As a first step, patients are urged to take an active role in finding out just what their expenses for cancer care are likely to be before treatment begins. Practical questions are included for insurance representatives, the health care team, and pharmacists. In addition, there are questions to ask lawyers and tax accountants.
Practical tips for coping with the expenses from the book include:
- Get a notebook to record all of your expenses, conversations with the insurance company, doctors appointments, exams, and other pertinent information (date, time and with whom, what they said and contact information, how long spent on the call).
- Get an accordion folder to help you file things so you can find them easily.
- Pick a certain day to be ‘health care bill day.’ Use this allotted time to work on the task of keeping everything organized. This will help to compartmentalize the task and keep it from taking over your everyday life.
- Identify an easily accessible place in your house that will not be disturbed by others where you can store your bills, paperwork, and other items.
In addition Coping with the Cost of Care includes things to consider about working through treatment or how to get disability payments if working isn’t an option.
Contents of the book include places to go both nationally and in your community for financial help, insurance and patient assistance programs to help with the cost of prescription medicines, and an excellent list of resources for more information and assistance.
Kathy, who is a breast cancer survivor, said,
I would’ve liked to talk at the front end about the cost of care as opposed to waiting. I really think it would have been easier if we knew what was going to happen and what bills we were going to see coming in.
Frankly Speaking about Cancer: Coping with the Cost of Care is full of solid information, excellent questions, and practical tips. And its free!