Paying for cancer treatment can be a financial burden. Factor in the out-of-pocket costs for many alternative cancer treatments – most insurance does not cover the cost of alternative treatments – and you can see why “financial toxicity” is.
While nearly 66% of cancer patients want to discuss with their doctors about the cost of cancer treatments, the reality is that less than half of oncologists and only 27% of patients report having had cost-related discussions.
Cancer patients are 2½ times as likely to declare bankruptcy as healthy people. Moreover, those patients who go bankrupt are 80 percent more likely to die from the disease than other cancer patients.
The average costs for cancer treatment run in the $150,000 range. (Did you know that 11 of the 12 cancer drugs that the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2012 cost more than $100,000 per year?) With a good insurance policy, a cancer patient is looking at more than $4,000 annually in deductibles and copays before costs are fully covered. Medicare patients will have lower deductibles but may still be on the hook for thousands in copays.
“Financial toxicity” is the term used to describe the dire health impact of the soaring costs of cancer treatment. The prices may be even higher for those who choose alternative cancer treatments.
A lower premium insurance plan may not save cancer patients money; these plans often have high cost-sharing (and cancer patients are high utilizers of care). Newly diagnosed cancer patients often experience their highest out-of-pocket costs in the first two to three months following a positive screening or diagnosis until they meet their applicable deductible and out-of-pocket maximums.
Even with insurance, however, cancer patients often face unpredictable or unmanageable costs, including high co-insurance, high deductibles, out-of-network care, and needing treatment not covered by their plan.
There also are indirect costs associated with cancer – lost income, caregiver costs, disability, childcare, costs for special food, transportation to appointments, pharmacy, lodging if traveling to a medical facility, wigs or other cosmetic items to address side effects, mental health services. These indirect costs are difficult to quantify, but are significant for cancer patients and families, and add to the overall costs of cancer care.
However, there are alternative ways to get the funds to cover your alternative cancer treatment costs. LifeGuide Partners, which supports a holistic approach to assisting and helping patients financially manage their cancer care, evaluates an existing life insurance policy to possibly convert it into much-needed cash to pay for cancer treatment.
Research shows a tangible association between “financial toxicity” and short-term health outcomes, including depression and anxiety, suicide, impaired cardiovascular function, and substance abuse. Declining financial resources also can result in reduced spending on health-related goods and services. Delaying needed medical care, and incomplete adherence to prescribed medication can have long-term health consequences, including increased mortality.
It comes down to weighing the cost to stay alive vs. the potential financial hardships of fighting to live. LifeGuide can help you win the fight of your life.
With over 25 years of experience, LifeGuide Partners helps people use a more unconventional method of finding money to pay for cancer care. LifeGuide supports a holistic approach to assisting and helping patients financially manage their cancer care. While keeping and holding your personal information completely confidential, they will evaluate an existing life insurance policy to possibly convert it into much needed cash to pay for cancer protocols.
CareCredit works with a range of healthcare providers including doctors, dentists, and surgical centers. They even work directly with vision and hearing centers, elective surgery centers, and veterinarians. The CareCredit card can be used to cover co-payments on traditional medical care or the costs associated with elective treatments, including natural cancer care. There are various interest free agreements that can be established with CareCredit based on your credit score.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA)
The PPA helps connect patients all over the United States with free or greatly reduced medication, it is an excellent resource for those suffering from cancer.
Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program
The Patient Advocate Foundations Co-Pay Relief Program is similar to the HealthWell Foundations coverage programs. It is primarily intended to assist cancer patients that have health insurance but are having trouble keeping up with copays and premiums.