Ten Tips to Maintain Financial Health During and After Cancer

  1. Have a conversation with your health care team about your treatment plan and the expected cost. Talk to your doctor about how cancer treatment could affect your ability to work.
  2. Understand your health insurance coverage. It is vital that you pay your health insurance premiums on time and in full. If you don’t have health insurance, immediately find out if you can obtain a policy or if you qualify for Medicaid.
  3. Meet early with your oncology social worker, navigator or advocate, and be candid about any financial difficulties and other needs you have. They are there to help you manage your cancer care costs.
  4. Be informed about your legal rights and all benefits available to you through your employer: disability insurance, accommodations in your job duties, hours/leave time. Your spouse should do the same with their employer.
  5. Prepare a budget. Organize and keep track of your bills. Verify insurance benefits are correctly applied. (Ask a trusted family member or friend to help you with this.) Appeal insurance claim denials. (Ask a member of your health care team to help with this.)
  6. If you are experiencing financial hardship, explain your situation to creditors and medical providers and ask for their help. You may be able to negotiate a discount or more time to pay your bills.
  7. Tap into the expertise of nonprofits in the cancer community. They can help you navigate resources and find assistance with costs related to treatment, co-payments, prescription drugs, basic needs, transportation, childcare as well as insurance matters and other support services. They can often help you apply. Several organization offer free services from their navigators and social workers: CancerCare, Livestrong, PAN, CSC, CancerCare pub
  8. Look into federal and other programs in your state that can help cover expenses and replace income if you can’t work during and after treatment. Apply quickly if you are eligible for benefits.
  9. Consider other of income: retirement accounts, available credit, personal loan, cashing in life insurance policy, sale of real estate or personal property.
  10. The financial burden of cancer can impact your physical and mental well-being. Asking for help can be hard but allowing others to lend a hand alleviates stress for you and your loved ones and lets your focus on your recovery.