Cancer Home > 6 Absolute Costs to Pay Attention to During Cancer Treatment

Out-of-Pocket Medication Costs

You may have to foot a portion of the bill for some of your medications as well, including prescription and nonprescription medications. These are medication costs that aren't covered by your insurance. It could be specific medications prescribed during your treatment period, such as chemotherapy and medications to control side effects.
Your insurance may cover some, none, or all of these costs, depending on your particular insurance plan. If you are participating in a clinical trial, there may also be some medications that your insurance won't cover because they are considered "experimental," although, in most cases, experimental medications are paid for by the study sponsor.
If you have to pay for medications out of pocket, you can try to ask for the generic versions, which are often cheaper than the brand-name drug. Some people may be concerned that a generic medication isn't as effective as the brand-name product.
However, all generics must go through testing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine whether they are as good as the brand-name drug. You can ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about whether a generic medication is equivalent to a brand-name drug.
Generics are typically less expensive than the brand-name drugs. Usually, the only difference is the generic medication may contain different inactive ingredients, such as fillers and dyes, than the brand-name medication.
There are also some patient assistance plans that some of the drug manufacturers offer to help people pay for their cancer medications. You can ask your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse about these options.

Family and Living Expenses

These expenses include costs related to running your household and caring for your family while you are going through cancer treatment. This can include things like additional childcare costs while you go to your doctor appointments (or because you are not feeling well enough to care for them). It can also include hiring a housekeeper, someone to take care of your yard, or someone to run errands for you. You may also need to pay extra for therapists or other forms of coping support.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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