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How to Afford the Price Tag of Terminal Cancer
Millions of people have been diagnosed with cancer, but with that comes a pretty hefty price tag. According to Drug Watch, cancer costs Americans a whopping $895 billion each year, making it the most expensive disease in the world. The total includes the costs for treatment, medicine, tests, surgeries and home health.
A terminal cancer diagnosis is overwhelming enough as it is without adding to it the stress of figuring out how you are going to afford treatment. The good news is that there are several ways to afford a cancer diagnosis, and the following tips will help.
Get Real With Your Doctor
Once the official diagnosis has been made, it’s time to have a heart to heart with your doctor. As Time Magazine points out, “Lacking a clear understanding of the medical prognosis, families may be overly optimistic about the likely success of aggressive, often costly interventions.” For this reason, it is important that you ask your doctor the important, and difficult questions. What is your prognosis? Will treatment make end-of-life prep more uncomfortable than necessary due to the associated symptoms? Will treatment and/or surgery improve your quality of life? What are your end-of-life care options? Asking these questions can help you make an informed decision, and avoid costly and unnecessary medical bills.
Put Your Medicare to Work
For those who are age 65 and older, it is important that you understand your Medicare coverage. When it comes to Part A and Part B, the determining factor is where your treatment will take place (inpatient or outpatient). Part A covers inpatient chemotherapy and hospital stays, nursing care, and hospice while Part B covers outpatient medical procedures such as labs, doctor visits, and outpatient chemotherapy. If your plan includes Part D, you are eligible for prescription drug coverage to avoid paying the full price at the pharmacy.
Yet another Medicare plan to consider is a Medicare Advantage plan, or Part C. This type of plan is offered through a private insurer, and is an alternative to original Medicare, providing both Part A and Part B coverage. It can also serve as supplemental help for prescription, dental, and vision coverage, which can be helpful after rigorous cancer treatment. It is important to note that enrollment for Part C is different from the original Medicare, and you can only enroll during certain times of the year (Oct. 15 – Dec.7).
Revise Your Life Insurance Policy
Altering your life insurance policy might not sound like a good idea given the circumstances, but doing so can be helpful. For example, did you know you can add a rider to your insurance policy to help you pay for cancer treatment/care? Adding an accelerated death benefit to your policy enables you to withdraw cash to be used to pay for cancer-related expenses. Keep in mind that the money you take out won’t be distributed to your beneficiaries after your death, but the immediate access to crucial finances is a big plus.
Another option to consider if you are really in a pinch is a viatical settlement in which you sell your life insurance policy, putting you in a situation where you could potentially receive more than 60 to 70 percent of the death benefit. However, if you have beneficiaries who are dependent upon your policy payout, it is best to speak with a financial advisor before making a decision.
Life can get expensive, and a cancer diagnosis is no different. When the word ‘terminal’ is mentioned, it can send your emotions into a tailspin, and once the dust settles you are left wondering what to do next. Don’t let finances be a source of stress. Explore your financing options and focus on what’s most important – you.
A note from Martin Oaks Cemetery and Crematory: