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

Caregiving Costs

Any additional help you need in your house can be counted as caregiving costs. This can include at-home care and long-term care. Some of these expenses may include home health nurses and any medical equipment you need. It may also include the costs you incur if you have to move into a full-time care facility or to provide for hospice care.

Employment, Legal, and Accounting Costs

This includes the expenses that come up when a person needs professional help with employment, legal, or financial issues related to their cancer care. This could include paying for an accountant who helps with taxes to figure out medical cost deductions.
You may also need some legal help if you need to write a will and for estate planning. A lawyer may also be needed to help you understand your employment rights according to the laws in your particular state. Legal issues may come up with how much time you get off from work, loss of wages by the patient or the caregiver, or if you are wrongfully fired due to your cancer.

How to Plan for These Costs

You will want to know as much as possible about any extra expenses you will be responsible for prior to starting your cancer treatment. While dealing with costs is not something anyone wants to think about during such a difficult time, planning and budgeting for these costs realistically may actually help relieve stress later on and help ease your mind now. Having someone who can help you manage these financial issues can be even more of a relief for you.
So how do you even begin to start planning for all these costs? A good place to start is by talking with the doctor who is treating your cancer. He or she can answer many of your questions and can also help give you advice on where to go for more guidance.
Some of the questions you may consider asking include:
  • If I can't afford this treatment, are there other treatments that cost less?
  • Is there any way I can get help to pay for this treatment?
  • Where will I get treatment -- in the hospital, clinic, or at home?
  • Are there any other hidden costs that I may not have thought of yet?
  • Where can I get some help to get an idea of the total cost of the treatment I need?
Once you start to get an idea of some of the costs you will encounter for your treatment, you will want to talk to your health insurance provider next. You need to find out if your health insurance will pay for your particular treatment and how much you will have to pay out of your own pocket. You may also want to ask if your insurance company needs to approve any part of the treatment plan before you can get started with it.
It's important to keep good records on all your bills. Even if you understand the terms of your insurance policy, getting reimbursed for your expenses can often mean resubmitting claims, appealing denials, and tackling other time-consuming obstacles. This is where having someone else handle these things can be a tremendous amount of help for you.
If you have Medicare, Medicaid, or other public insurance, you will want to talk to your cancer team about how to get more information on costs and coverage.
Planning ahead can help you determine how to budget and figure out if you will need some financial assistance. Your out-of-pocket expenses will depend on a number of factors, such as the type and length of the treatment plan and how much your health insurance will cover.
Because cancer treatment can take anywhere from a few days to months or even years, you will need to prepare for how often and how long you may have these out-of-pocket expenses. While thinking about all of these potential costs can be overwhelming, try to remember there are people who can help you! You don't have to do this all on your own. Ask your doctor or nurse to recommend someone who can help you plan for these expenses.
There are also local and national financial resources and representatives from your insurance company who can help you understand these costs more fully. If this becomes too much of a stress for you, ask for help from a trusted family member or friend who can help carry this burden for you.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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