How to Handle Insurance After a Cancer Diagnosis

When you are faced with a cancer diagnosis, life suddenly becomes very simple and incredibly precious. All that truly matters is making it through the battle ahead and, in the end, defeating this unseen enemy for good.

Unfortunately, the practical necessities of life don’t just dissipate when cancer rears its ugly head. There are still matters of daily living to attend to, and that includes ensuring that you have the financial resources on hand to fund your treatment while protecting your family from hardship. 

More often than not, this will mean addressing several complicated issues and complex questions surrounding medical and employment insurance. You may, for example, find yourself opting for a new insurance provider to expand your therapeutic options. Or you may discover that your employment insurance is not sufficient to cover your financial needs while on medical leave. This article provides insight into managing your insurance coverage in the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis to help you develop an action plan that works best for you and your family.

Financing Treatment

One of the most difficult aspects of a cancer diagnosis, outside of the diagnosis itself, is managing the financial fallout. Cancer treatment can be obscenely expensive, even for the well-insured. For those with little or no insurance, the costs of therapeutics and surgeries can be devastating. 

Additionally, insurers can be quite restrictive in the coverage they provide. For example, many insurers will not cover the cost of hair-sparing chemotherapies. Patients’ inability to direct their own treatment plans, the denial of the opportunity to make choices that best serve their physical and emotional needs due to insurance regulations, can take a profound toll on patients and their families. 

However, it is important for those facing a cancer diagnosis to remember that their primary insurer is not the only option for helping to cover the costs of treatment. Many healthcare systems offer resources to aid patients in developing manageable payment plans. Likewise, a host of charities and medical and research organizations exist to support patient care. For instance, the American Cancer Society provides access to an array of financial programs to help offset residual care costs or to fund therapies not covered by insurers.  

Insurance After Cancer Diagnosis

Enlisting the Experts

Though a range of resources exists to help patients and their families, it can be difficult to know where to look for or how to access such support. In many cases, patients would do well to enlist the services of a social worker to help navigate the labyrinth of the cancer journey. 

Social workers operate in a variety of domains, from employment to healthcare, to protect the rights and wellbeing of those in need. Social workers specifically trained in healthcare policy, for example, can advise patients on their options in selecting the best and most appropriate insurers for their needs. 

Their services are likely to include support in the process of changing insurance providers or expanding coverage despite the limitations often accompanying a significant medical diagnosis.

Similarly, social workers specializing in employment law and labor policy can help patients understand their disability insurance policies and assist them in filing claims to ensure maximum coverage. The support of an informed social worker can make a profound difference in the recovery process of a patient who may otherwise have returned to work prematurely because they were unable to access the full disability benefits to which they were entitled.  

The Takeaway

A cancer diagnosis can be life-changing, but dealing with medical and employment insurance does not need to exacerbate the challenges of the diagnosis. With a bit of strategy and a lot of support, you can manage the benefits process and access the financial and workplace resources you need to wage your cancer fight and win.

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