If you are living with lymphoma, one of your main concerns may be the payment charges that seem to be piling up too quickly. It can be stressful enough living with cancer, let alone having to worry about going into debt. For this reason, it is important to become aware of the different expenses relating to lymphoma care. By taking into account the type of treatment that you need to receive, how long your treatment needs to last, and your health insurance coverage; you can best determine the proper financial support that you require.
While it is important to follow through with any payment obligations, it is equally important that you learn how to organize your finances. Upon your diagnosis, your doctor and healthcare team can help provide you with referrals to financial programs and support services. Moreover, there are several national and local service organizations that you can get in touch with, to learn more about their programs on helping individuals, such as yourself, who are struggling with financial difficulties. Learning about the financial aspects of your lymphoma care can help you to better manage them, thus alleviating your stress and allowing you to focus more on your well-being.
There are a few expenses that might be a bit more apparent than others. For example, you are probably anticipating the cost of chemotherapy and particular medications. However, there are also a few hidden costs that come into play, such as transportation. The cost of gasoline (traveling back and forth to the treatment facility), parking, bus fares, or even airplane fares, all fall under the category of transportation expenses. To start, compile a list and break down the different expenses associated with your treatment, based on categories.
Common financial categories of lymphoma care include the following:
- Medication – this category takes into account the medication expenses during the period of your treatment (prescription/nonprescription), as well as additional expenses for specific medications in case of any unwanted side effects. The prices of medications tend to vary and therefore, you may want to consider contacting different pharmacies to get a sense of the best pricing available to you within your local area.
- Doctor appointments – this category includes the expenses pertaining to any check-ups or physical examinations that may need to be performed during your doctor appointments. In any case, it is important to speak with your health insurance provider about any fees that you may be required to pay (ex: lab tests) before entering your doctor’s office.
- Living expenses – this category includes the expenses relating to your living expenses, such as mortgage payments or child care, on top of your cancer treatment.
- At-home and long-term care – this category includes additional expenses such as home care equipment, hiring help around the house or even preparing for extensive care at a specialized treatment facility.
- Lymphoma treatment – this category includes all expenses relating to your treatment of lymphoma, such as radiation treatments (implants/external radiation), necessary surgical procedures, or hospital stay (nursing care/home care/ consultations). Consider asking your doctor to help you calculate these costs based on the overall length of treatment that you may require.
- Other expenses – this category includes all the potential expenses relating to lymphoma care, such as salary cutbacks, income taxes, switching to a different doctor, imaging tests, and others.
A few practical tips relating to lymphoma care include the following:
- Keep a record and copies of all of your filed claims, medical bills, clinic visits, medications received, prescriptions filled, medical treatments received, and more
- Record all of your expenses in a notebook and keep all lymphoma care related information in one folder. This way, you know exactly where to find the information that you need
- Even if you are not fully aware of what your health insurance plan does and does not cover, submit all of your medical expenses
- Submit all of your medical expenses to your insurance company on time
- Consider looking through books, newspaper articles, and online sources for help on how to organize your finances
- Set aside one day where you will focus your energy on organizing and paying your medical bills. After this day, fully convert your focus to your health. Seek advice relating to medical finances only when necessary
- Talk with your health care team about any financial worries that you may be experiencing
- Understand the advantages and disadvantages of your current health insurance plan
Keep in mind that some expenses that are not covered by your health insurance, such as medications, may be deducted from your income taxes. In order to better understand these rules and regulations, it is best to speak with a tax consultant. These out-of-pocket expenses can add up quickly, so it is advisable that you are fully aware of the different types of health insurance plans. They all differ in terms of coverage – some do not cover oral chemo drugs the way that they cover IV drugs administered in hospitals. Get to know the terms of your coverage plan, as well as the network of doctors and hospitals in your area and the ones that come highly recommended. If you do not receive health insurance at your current job position, see if you are eligible for government insurance programs such as Medicaid or Medicare. If you are feeling overwhelmed in regards to any legal or financial concerns, feel free to ask for help from your doctor or health insurance provider to better understand future expenses.
Dealing with any type of cancer can be overwhelming and costly.
You constantly ask yourself: Will my family become affected by my medical condition? Will I be able to receive the proper treatment that I require? Will I be able to take time off from work? Will I struggle with financial burdens?
You want to take good care of yourself, yet you also can’t seem to shake the idea of thousands and thousands of dollars worth of treatment. You are not alone. More than 60% of cancer patients have stated that they experience financial challenges to due medical bills. Additionally, more than 50% of cancer patients have stated that the stress of dealing with such expenses have affected their ability to follow their doctors’ treatment plan and focus on getting better. There will be unexpected expenses, as even the best health insurance plans don’t always fully cover expenses. So a good starting place is to learn as much as you can about managing lymphoma care. Address your financial, emotional, and social concerns even before your treatment starts.
Asking for helping hand may be difficult – especially when it comes to cancer care expenses. However, if you are willing to discuss lymphoma care with your doctor, health insurance provider, family member, or friend, it can help you to accept and prepare for dealing with any expected and unexpected expenses. You may be able to alleviate your financial worries and take a turn towards focusing on your well-being.
Take it one step at a time. You’d be surprised as to how many great plans, support services, and other financial resources are out there - you just have to find them and decide which one works best for you.