Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
If your employer offers health insurance, you should look into the different options for you and your family members (dependents).
Group health insurance is a type of health coverage that many employers offer their employees. Here’s how it works:
There are several benefits to group health insurance:
When you start a job, there’s usually an enrollment period where you can look at your options and choose your health insurance plan. Some employers offer health coverage that starts on your first day of work. Others may have a waiting period (usually between 30 to 90 days) that you must work until your health coverage starts.
After that, there is usually an open enrollment period for all employees once a year. During this time, you can update or change your health benefits.
You might also be able to sign up for coverage or add a dependent even when it isn’t open enrollment if certain life events occur. Some of these might include:
Employers might have different qualifying life events, so check your open enrollment information or contact human resources.
Employers usually have a few different kinds of health plans to choose from. Here are some things to consider when looking for a plan that’s best for you:
Review the Summary of Plan Benefits (SPB) for each option. This will explain what each plan does and does not cover.
Plans that meet the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements don’t allow pre-existing condition exclusion, annual caps on amount they’ll pay, or charging you more because of your health problems.
But if your employer has a grandfathered health insurance plan, they don’t have to follow all these requirements. Grandfathered plans don’t have to:
Employers must tell you if a health plan is a grandfathered plan.
Here are some other things you might want to consider when choosing a plan:
If you’re deciding between getting insurance through your employer or getting individual insurance, here are a few things to think about:
If your employer’s health coverage premiums will cost you more than 9.12% of your monthly income, (multiply 0.0912 x your monthly income) you might be able to find a better deal in your state’s Marketplace. This number can change with inflation, so check healthcare.gov for the most current rate.
Sometimes. If your income is low enough, you can qualify for help with premiums or other costs. If your individual coverage at work costs 9.12% or more of your household income, you can shop on the Marketplace and get premium subsidies with your Marketplace premiums.
Yes. Sometimes even when your own coverage is affordable, family, or dependent coverage is not. You can still get insurance at work for yourself, and shop on the Marketplace to try and get lower cost insurance for your family.
Along with the American Cancer Society, other sources of information and support are: .
US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits, Security Administration (EBSA)
Toll-free number: 1-866-444-3272
Information on employee benefit laws, including COBRA, FMLA, and HIPAA requirements of employer-based health coverage and self-insured health plans. Also has information on recent changes in health care laws. Information for military reservists who must leave their private employers for active duty can be found at: webapps.dol.gov/elaws/vets/userra/ee_disc.asp
State Health Care Marketplaces – US Department of Health and Human Services
Toll-free number: 1-800-318-2596 (also in Spanish)
Provides information on the new insurance law, takes you through the steps of finding insurance, and much more. If you don’t have Internet access, the phone number will connect you with your state’s marketplace.
US Department of Health & Human Services
For the most up-to-date information on health care and insurance laws and how they affect you
National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Toll-free Number: 1-866-470-6242
Offers contact information for your state insurance commission. You can contact your state insurance commission for insurance information specific to your state, or report problems with your insurance company
Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)
Toll-free number: 1- 800-532-5274
Works with the patient and insurer, employer and/or creditors to resolve insurance, job retention and/or debt problems related to their diagnosis, with help from case managers, doctors, and attorneys. For cancer patients in treatment or less than 2 years out of treatment
Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC)
Toll-free number: 1-866-843-2572 (might need to leave a number for a call back)
Provides free legal information about laws and resources for many cancer-related issues including health insurance issues, denial of benefits, and government benefits
*Inclusion on these lists does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
HealthCare.gov. Affordable coverage - healthcare.gov glossary. Published 2019. Accessed August 1, 2023. https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/affordable-coverage.
healthinsurance.org. Employer mandate. Accessed August 1, 2023. https://www.healthinsurance.org/glossary/employer-mandate.
healthinsurance.org. How can I get health insurance if my employer doesn’t offer it? Published 2022. Accessed August 1, 2023. https://www.healthinsurance.org/faqs/how-can-i-get-health-insurance-if-my-employer-doesnt-offer-it.
HealthCare.gov. If you’d like to change to a Marketplace plan. HealthCare.gov. Published 2019. Accessed August 8, 2023. https://www.healthcare.gov/have-job-based-coverage/change-to-marketplace-plan.
HealthCare.gov. Marketplace options for grandfathered health insurance plans. Accessed August 1, 2023. https://www.healthcare.gov/health-care-law-protections/grandfathered-plans.
Last Revised: September 30, 2023
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