Health Insurance and Financial Assistance for the Cancer Patient

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How to manage your health insurance

  • DO NOT let your health insurance expire.
  • If you are changing insurance plans, don’t let one policy lapse until the new one goes into effect – this includes when you are switching to Medicare.
  • Pay premiums in full and on time. New insurance can be hard to get and can cost a lot.
  • Know the details of your individual insurance plan and its coverage. Ask for a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), an easy-to-understand description of a plan’s benefits and the costs you will have to pay. If you think you might need more coverage than a plan offers, ask your insurance carrier if it’s available.
  • When possible, call the insurer to make sure that any planned medical service (such as surgery, procedures, or treatments) does not require prior authorization.
  • If a bill looks odd or wrong, make sure to call or email your insurer to avoid being mistakenly charged more than you should.
  • Submit claims for all medical expenses, even when you’re not sure if they’re covered.
  • Keep accurate and complete records of claims submitted, pending (waiting), and paid.
  • Keep copies of all paperwork related to your claims, such as letters of medical necessity, explanations of benefits (EOBs), bills, receipts, requests for sick leave or family medical leave (FMLA), and correspondence with insurance companies.
  • Get a caseworker, a hospital financial counselor, or a social worker to help you if your finances are limited. Often, companies or hospitals can work with you to make special payment arrangements if you let them know about your situation.
  • Send in your bills for reimbursement as you get them. If you become overwhelmed with bills or tracking your medical expenses, get help. Contact local support organizations, such as your American Cancer Society or your state’s government agencies, for extra help.

  • Last Medical Review: 12/31/2013
    Last Revised: 12/31/2013