Caribou: What you Need to Know About the Cost of Treatment for Cancer

August 11, 2020

Caribou

Caribou

August 11, 2020

Have you considered how the following can add up to the cost of your cancer treatment? 

  • appointments 

  • out of pocket costs 

  • insurance coverage and medical bills 

  • general cancer treatment costs 

  • clinical trials for cancer 

  • medication costs 

  • transportation and travel costs 

  • family and living costs 

  • employment, legal and financial issues 

If not, asking questions should be the first step you take to get a better understanding of the finances associated with a cancer diagnosis. With an average cost of $150 000, the cost of cancer treatment is 4 times higher than the treatment for any other health condition. Although this number can be intimidating, knowing what questions to ask is important to help you build a plan to identify and be better prepared for potential medical and non-medical expenses. 

Things to Know About the Cost of Cancer 

Unexpected expenses associated with the costs of cancer treatment, are much more common than you might think. In fact, the amount you pay in the first month for your cancer care could look much different a few months from now as you continue with your treatment. That is why knowing which questions to ask following a cancer diagnosis can not only help you plan for those unexpected costs, but it will also help you identify your potential medical and non medical expenses. 

By asking the right questions, you’ll have the correct knowledge to manage, plan and budget the costs of your cancer treatment accordingly, lowering the stress and financial burden associated with the costs of cancer. 

Questions you should ask about your cancer treatment 

Having financial concerns when faced with a cancer diagnosis is normal. Although it can be difficult, talking about your financial concerns with your health care team or your doctor is the first step to knowing what expenses you may face in the near future. 

To start the conversation with your health care team or doctor, consider explaining your financial worries to your doctor and asking these questions:

  1. How long will my treatment plan last and what is the estimated total cost? 

  2. Are there other treatment options that cost less, and what will be the difference between the treatment options?

  3. For each of my treatment options, how much will my insurance pay and how much will I have to pay myself?

  4. Does my health insurance company need to pre-approve any part of the treatment before I start?

  5. Is there a way I can get help paying for my treatment? 

  6. Who do I talk to about financial assistance or help setting up a payment plan?

  7. What location will I get treatment? 

  8. How much will the prescriptions cost? Are there assistance plans that can help pay for the cost of my prescriptions?

This may seem like just a handful of questions to ask, but they will help put you on the right path towards achieving a greater understanding of your cancer expenses.  

Factors related to the cost of your cancer treatment 

The cost of cancer treatment can be very complex, integrating different factors you need to be aware of. In fact, your medical bills and expenses related to cancer can depend on any of the following factors: 

  • cost of appointment

  • out of pocket costs

  • insurance coverage and medical bills

  • general cancer treatment costs

  • clinical trials for cancer 

  • medication costs 

  • transportation and travel costs 

  • family and living costs 

  • other costs for care

For example, to help identify and manage the medical expenses associated to your appointments, consider asking the following questions:

  • How much is my copay for each doctor visit? 

  • When is this payment due? 

  • Do you offer any payment plans? 

  • Will I be billed separately for tests, such as blood tests, or scans? 

  • Are these tests covered under my health insurance? 

  • Does my insurance cover specialist doctor visits?

There are many categories of questions to be aware of, ranging from those related to insurance to living costs.

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