Have you or a loved one been recently diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as cancer? One of the first things that you might be concerned with is overcoming the disease, staying healthy and preventing it from recurring. While these stressors seem like they would overwhelm anyone, you still need to stay focused. Something that can throw you off track is the expenses that accrue during treatment. Here are a few ways that you might be able to get some help and assistance during this difficult time.
Lowering Prescription Costs
When first diagnosed, there is a good chance that you have a multitude of symptoms that you need to treat. This ranges from everything from pain and swelling to anxiety and sleeplessness. Your doctor may recommend treating you for specific symptoms as you begin to embark on your cancer journey. From there, some forms of treatment including, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can all leave harsh effects on your body. Some of these include:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pain and discomfort.
- Skin changes, including redness, dryness and overall irritation.
- Hair thinning or loss.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Weakness and general malaise.
Because each person is unique with their health and how they respond to treatment, different prescriptions may be required. The problem is, some of these medications, along with the treatments can be very expensive and not covered by insurance. One way to slash prices is by finding money-saving programs that can help cut down on the cost of the drug. This starts with getting prescription coupons from the drug manufacturer. You can contact them directly or speak with your doctor’s office who may have coupons and samples directly from a rep. If you’re unable to pay for treatment or your prescriptions, talk with a financial counselor through your primary physician or the hospital or clinic in which you receive care.
Take Advantage Of Free Cancer Testing
One of the most expensive things occurring with cancer is the testing you need to have done on a frequent basis. This can make it hard to stay on a budget and save money. The good news is that many preventative care tests are usually covered by most insurance companies. This requirement is typically available through many private insurance carriers. If you tell the hospital or clinic to bill you for your annual preventative care, you can save hundreds of dollars each year. Some examples include:
- Pap smear and gynecological exam.
- Free eye exam.
- Certain x-rays or CT scans to help diagnose certain types of cancers.
- Blood work to check for new disease or disease recurrence.
Ask your doctor about any tests that you can have done that are considered preventative. If you have trouble paying for certain testing, don’t avoid it. If its lifesaving, your doctor may be able to arrange for you to have it. Another option would be an HSA or health savings account. This allows you to contribute a small amount of money from each paycheck that is set aside to pay for expensive, uncovered medical bills.
Transportation To Appointments
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and have to undergo routine chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other treatments, you’ll be visiting the doctor frequently.
Transportation can get expensive. Start by calling your insurance company. Some offer mileage reimbursement for travel to and from doctor’s appointments. In other cases, the hospital in which you receive chemotherapy treatment may be able to help you with mileage costs through gas card programs. These are often through donations through social service programs that are locally operated.
Some hospitals may also offer transportation services where they pick you up and transport you to and from your doctor and chemo appointments. Keep in mind, this may not be offered in your area, but the best place for resources is through the cancer center that you go to as well as the American Cancer Society.
Accessing Social Work
Getting in touch with a social worker in your community is a good way to tap into financial resources that may be able to help you and your family. Financial support, as well as counseling services, are available for all who are affected by cancer. Support groups also offer a way to tap into resources that you may not know about in your area. Talk with your local social service program or ask your doctor for the correct referral to a social worker in your area.
If you’re dealing with cancer or your loved one is, remember that you’re not alone. Help is available to give you the financial and coping skills you need to get through the cancer fight.
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