How to Prepare Financially for Cancer|health gym
How to Prepare Financially for Cancer
While cancer is a potentially life-threatening ailment, it can also devastate you and your family financially. However, whether you’re planning for the possibility of cancer in the future or you just received a cancer diagnosis, there are a variety of things you can do to limit the financial impact of cancer treatment. Ultimately, while your insurance may cover a large part of cancer treatment, most people will be responsible for deductibles, copays, and incidental costs. In the end, by purchasing good insurance, working with your healthcare providers, and planning for the future, you’ll be better able to tackle the financial challenges of a cancer diagnosis.
Get an insurance plan that provides good cancer coverage.While many plans provide some sort of cancer coverage, not all provide very good coverage. As a result, you should spend time shopping around for plans that have very good cancer coverage. Good plans will typically:
- Pay 100% of costs after your deductible.
- Allow you to choose your health care providers and not restrict you to a specific network of doctors and hospitals.
- Have very large annual limits (more than 1 or 2 million dollars).
Shop for a supplemental insurance.Supplemental insurance is insurance that provides coverage beyond traditional insurance. Depending on the policy, supplemental insurance can cover you beyond maximum annual limits or cover things not covered by your regular policy.
- Purchase critical illness insurance. These insurances may provide you with a lump sum payout if you are diagnosed with a specific type of condition, like cancer.
- Buy catastrophic illness insurance. This coverage may provide you with a lump sum payment or it may simply cover specifically defined illnesses, like cancer.
Buy long-term care insurance.Long-term care insurance typically pays for the cost of caregivers in the home or in an assisted-living facility. Without long-term care insurance, you and your family may have to pay for nurses and aids at home. In addition, you may have larger hospital or hospice bills than if you had long-term care insurance.
Dealing with Insurers and Providers After Diagnosis
Get estimates from health care providers.If you’ve been diagnosed and discussed treatment with your oncologist, you should start the process of requesting estimates from the team that will manage your care. This team includes doctors, hospitals, diagnostic centers, and more.
- Request a quote for your treatment in writing based on your current insurance policy.
- Ask your providers to give you a “high” number and a “low” number for treatment. The high number would be the “worst case scenario” cost of treatment.
- Find out the cost of diagnostics, like bloodwork, CT scans, MRIs, and more.
- If you’re going to get treatment through a cancer center or a specific hospital, ask them for an estimate of your costs.
Find out what your health insurance covers.Call your health insurance company and ask them the specifics about your coverage. This includes the percentage of what they will pay, annual coverage limits, and more.
- Ask about your deductible. This is the amount you’ll have to pay before your insurance will cover you.
- Determine the extent of your healthcare provider network. Some insurance plans, like HMOs, require you to go to doctors and institutions that have a pre-existing relationship with the insurer. Others allow you to pick your provider.
- Inquire about what tests will be covered and what your copay may be for specific diagnostics.
- Find out whether your insurance has coverage for travel and lodging.
Look into public health assistance.There are a variety of governmental programs that may offer benefits and assistance to people suffering from costly conditions like cancer. Depending on your age, income level, and where you live, there may be a variety of assistance programs you could use.
- In the United States, you should investigate benefits you may receive through Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
- If you are outside the United States, contact your local government or go online to find out what benefits you can use.
Contact charitable organizations.There are many charitable organizations that may be able to offer you assistance if you are diagnosed with cancer. As a result, your financial preparations should include researching charitable organizations so you can determine what sort of assistance you may be able to get to aid in your treatment. Consider:
- Organizations geared toward providing services and assistance to people with cancer, like the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Ronald McDonald House for the families of children with cancer (and other illnesses).
- General organizations like the United Way or Salvation Army.
- Religious institutions and organizations like Lutheran Social Services or Jewish Family Services.
Budgeting and Planning
Create a budget for your household.The first step in preparing your finances for cancer is drafting a budget. A budget is important so you can manage your day-to-day expenses. Without a budget, you may find yourself unable to pay basic expenses like your utility bill, rent, or mortgage.
- List all your monthly expenses and income on a sheet of paper or in a spreadsheet.
Find a financial counselor that specializes in cancer.Once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you should consider contacting a financial counselor that has experience working with people with catastrophic illnesses. The counselor may have ideas you haven’t thought of.
- Many hospitals and cancer centers will offer free or low cost financial counseling.
- Look online, in the yellow pages, or ask friends about where you can find a financial counselor with catastrophic illness experience.
Build your savings.One of the best ways to prepare for cancer is to build your savings. Ultimately, there is no downside to building your savings since you can either spend it on treatment or use it for retirement later on. As a result, planning for cancer and planning for retirement are very compatible.
- Participate in your employer's pension or savings plan. For example, your employer might match your retirement savings 5%.
- Put aside a certain percentage of your monthly income into an account you will only use for emergencies, like serious illnesses.
Set up a crowdfunding campaign.While you’ll largely rely on your insurance and your own savings, you may want to consider raising money on social media to help with the cost of your care. This is a great way to supplement your own money and to possibly limit the financial problems that cancer may cause for you and your family.
- Consider websites like YouCaring and Gofundme.
Assess your future income stream.Whether you’re healthy or you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you need to consider your ability to earn money in the future. This is important, as many people who are diagnosed with cancer are unable to continue working.
- Don’t plan to continue working if you are diagnosed with cancer. While you may be able to, in many cases, chemotherapy and other treatment will make it difficult for you to continuing doing so.
- Think about finding an alternate source of income, like a job you can perform part-time and from home.
Draft a will.Whether you have been diagnosed or are perfectly healthy, planning for cancer necessarily means planning for a will. Ultimately, drafting a will is something you should do to safeguard your loved ones and to make sure your estate transfers to your heirs without incident.
- You will need to talk to a lawyer to formalize your will.
- If you are ill when you want to draft your will, ask your lawyer if they will help you pro bono or if they can suggest someone who can.
Video: Prepare yourself financially to fight against Cancer - Hindi
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