Download the FREE ebook "Beating Myeloma: If I Knew Then What I Know Now" and arm yourself with the information about autologous stem cell transplantation, treatment options, and side effects that I wish I had known about when I began treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma you will be preoccupied with your diagnosis, possible therapies, cancer specialists, side effects and more. You will be thinking about anything and everything but one of the most challenging side effects of cancer- what your cancer will cost you financially.
While it may be difficult thinking about anything other than hoping and praying you hear the words “you are cancer free,” it is in your best interest to think about the financial costs of your cancer care. After all, you don’t want to burden your family with thousands of dollars in unpaid bills. Remember that
I am both a multiple myeloma survivor and cancer coach. When I was first diagnosed with cancer in 1994 my only thought was to fight my cancer. I did everything my oncologist told me to do. I had good medical insurance so I let my insurer handle all my cancer costs. Big Mistake.
Learn about evidence-based integrative to enhance conventional multiple myeloma therapies. Learn about complementary therapies to reduce your risk of side effects. Learn when reduced dosing of chemo cocktails work just as effectively with fewer side effects.
Chances are that you will face a number of basic financial issues such as co-pays, deductibles, jargon such as in-network/out-of-network, and more, in the coming weeks and months.
Learn what they mean and how to manage them and you will be better prepared to face the challenges that a diagnosis of multiple myeloma brings.
“The staggering cost of cancer care forces many patients to file for bankruptcy, and that financial stress may play a role in cutting their lives short, new research suggests.
In fact, patients suffering from colon, prostate or thyroid cancers who went broke had almost 80 percent higher odds of dying during the study period compared with similar patients who remained financially sound, the researchers said…”
“Our article on Americans’ struggles with medical debt generated thousands of reader comments. More than 1,200 readers wrote us to answer our question: “How have medical bills changed your life?”
“”Out-of-pocket expenses related to treatment are akin to physical toxicity, in that costs can diminish the quality of life and impede delivery of the highest quality care..Cancer treatments are more expensive than in the past, and they are being overused; importantly, rising costs are being passed on to the patient, the essayists write.
Indebtedness is common and can be severe. In a recent study of colorectal cancer patients, researchers found that about 25% were in debt because of treatment and that the average debt was $26,860 (J Clin Oncol. 2011;29:954-956)…
What to Do? The first step in discussing cancer costs is actually knowing the cost of treatment…But other research suggests a “conundrum”: patients want to talk about cost, but they don’t want their physicians making treatment decisions based on cost.
“Acute and chronic economic hardships are the little recognized but all too common effects of cancer therapy, new research shows…In addition to out-of-pocket costs, men with a history of cancer lost an estimated $3700 in annual productivity, and women lost an estimated $4000…Employment disability accounted for about 75% of the productivity loss in male and female survivors…
In addition to the physical tolls of cancer and its treatment — including risk for recurrence, metastasis, secondary cancers, and the long-term and late effects of highly toxic therapies — survivors often live with disabilities that impair them in their working lives, the authors report.
“Stephanie (cancer caregiver) was then told by a billing clerk (M.D.Anderson) that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit (cancer patient)— just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance…The total cost, in advance, for Sean to get his treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy were $83,900…What are the reasons, good or bad, that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab?”
“…In 2013, Ms. Pearson said, 23 percent of employer-sponsored health plans placed specialty drugs in their own group, or tier, in which consumers are asked to pay a percentage of the drug cost, rather than a set co-payment. In 2006, just 5 percent of employer plans had a specialty tier. The trend is likely to continue: In the new plans offered to individuals through the health insurance marketplaces, Ms. Pearson said, specialty tiers are “ubiquitous.”
“The cost of such drugs can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars a year, even though many have been shown to extend the lives of late-stage cancer patients by just a few months…”
“”By making the NCCN Reimbursement Resource App available free of charge, NCCN seeks to assist
patients, caregivers, and providers in identifying resources that may ease that burden by providing easy access to payment assistance and reimbursement programs, respectively.”
“The average U.S. adult diagnosed with cancer will miss five weeks of work in the first year and see total family income decline by 20 percent, according to a new study…
Most household bankruptcies are caused by illness, Zajacova said. Currently there are nearly 14 million cancer survivors in the U.S.
“What makes cancer particularly unique is it tends to strike fairly suddenly and can be very severe,” making it almost impossible for people to prepare for this kind of blow, she said…”
“Researchers call it “financial toxicity.” The financial burdens that some patients suffer as a result of the cost of their treatments can cause damage to their physical and emotional well-being…”
1) How to Appeal a Health Insurance Denial– yes, insurance companies can and do refuse to pay for meds, scans, etc. prescribed by your oncologist.