Finances After Cancer Treatment
Cancer care is one of the most expensive treatments in the United States. Cancer survivors commonly have financial problems long after active treatment ends. This is because they may still be paying medical bills from their cancer treatment, for follow-up care to address long-term or late effects from their treatment, or because they have stopped working during treatment. “Chemo brain” or physical limitations may also keep survivors from returning to work.
Dealing with the financial burden of cancer and treatment can lead to distress, also known as “financial toxicity.” Financial toxicity has become such a big problem that many doctors now consider it as another form of “toxic side-effect” of cancer treatment. Studies estimate that more than half of all cancer survivors experience financial toxicity as a result of their cancer.
If you are feeling stressed about finances related to your cancer experience, some of these tips may be helpful:
- Organize a financial record-keeping system or family budget.
- Learn more about your health insurance:
- What will be covered?
- What will you need to pay?
- Keep accurate and complete records of claims submitted, pending, and paid.
- Keep copies of all paperwork related to your claims.
- Send in your bills for reimbursement as soon as you get them.
- Learn about your employer’s rules and policies related to the use of “sick time.”
- Maintain close contact with friends, family, and social groups.
- If you become overwhelmed with bills, get help! There are many resources at City of Hope that you may find useful.
Financial support services at City of Hope serve as a problem-solving resource for insurance and financial issues before a particular treatment or service has occurred. They provide financial counseling, explanation of benefits and eligibility, out of pocket costs, insurance authorization, and medical necessity screening.
Patient Resources Coordinator
Our Patient Resources Coordinator focuses on providing patients and families with practical resources such as financial assistance, transportation to appointments, healthcare referrals, and more.
Clinical Social Workers
Clinical Social Workers help you and your family with practical and emotional concerns. They are able to provide financial benefit guidance including assistance with state and social security, disability, and paid family leave benefits.
Biller Patient and Family Resource Center
The Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center integrates all support services under one umbrella. Here you will find a warm and welcoming space to consult with our staff and get connected with the many resources offered to strengthen and empower patients before, during, and after treatment.