After Diagnosis: A Guide for Patients and Families

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How will I pay for all this?

How much will it cost?

The cost of treatment depends on the type of treatment, how long it lasts, how often it’s given, and whether you are treated at home, in a clinic, in the doctor’s office, or in the hospital. Most health plans, including Medicare, cover at least part of the cost of many treatments. In many states, Medicaid may help pay for certain treatments. Before you start treatment, find out whether your insurance will pay for your care. Also, find out what part of the cost, if any, you will have to pay.

Health insurance

If you are in a low-income bracket or are not working, check to see if you can get state or local benefits, such as Medicaid. If you are employed and are thinking about leaving your job, find out about COBRA options through your current insurance plan. COBRA may allow you to switch from your employer’s insurance plan to an individual plan with similar coverage. Many group plans allow this, but the cost may be much higher. You usually must apply for individual plans like this within 30 to 60 days of leaving your job. Call us or read What Is COBRA? at http://www.cancer.org for more on this.

Learning about your health insurance will help you be ready for the cost of treatment and can prepare you to talk with all the people who will work with your health insurance plan to get payment for your care. Patients who understand their insurance and know how to communicate with the insurance company are more likely to get the coverage they need. And knowing what your health insurance will cover ahead of time can give you some peace of mind as you make treatment decisions.

There are actions people who have a dispute with their health plan can take. Always keep records of your care and all interactions with health insurance staff and your health care team. Your doctor can usually help you. In cases of denied coverage, your doctor may have to give more information about your case to the health plan.

If you don’t have health insurance, there are several options to look into when trying to get coverage. Talk to a social worker or call us at 1-800-227-2345 to find out more about your options.

Our information called Health Insurance and Financial Assistance for the Cancer Patient can help you learn more about this. Read it on www.cancer.org, or call us for a free copy.


Last Medical Review: 03/06/2014
Last Revised: 04/07/2014