Children Diagnosed With Cancer: Financial and Insurance Issues

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Covering the costs of cancer treatment

If your child has been diagnosed with cancer, how to pay for treatment is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. But having health insurance coverage for cancer treatment and all of the needed follow-up care is critical.

Some people must work out money issues before their child can even start treatment. For others, it can become a problem after treatment begins. Either way, it takes time and energy to manage medical bills, insurance, and finances when your child has cancer.

Here, we’ll look at some of the new and existing resources that may be available to help families of children with cancer afford the care the child needs. Some of these resources can be especially helpful if your child isn’t covered by health insurance. They include government programs that help low income families, disability benefits, and aid from voluntary organizations.

Even if your child has health insurance, you’ll find that it doesn’t cover all the costs involved. There are many extra expenses that come with illness. For instance, transportation, a place to stay while your child is being treated, food, and child care for other children in your family are not part of your health plan. A parent may have to take unpaid time off work or give up a job because of treatment schedules. (See our document, Family and Medical Leave Act for more about taking time off but keeping your job.) One or both parents missing time at work may cause a serious loss of income. Even if your child is well-insured, cancer can cause financial problems.

It’s important to have accurate, up-to-date information and a good understanding of your financial situation and your child’s insurance coverage. And, if health insurance costs are not deducted from your paycheck, it’s important to pay the monthly insurance premiums on time to keep the coverage your child has. Having no health insurance can be scary, but there are still options.

Here, we’ll cover:


Last Medical Review: 01/14/2014
Last Revised: 01/14/2014