Cancer is a tough adversary to defeat. Doing so requires early diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment strategy that effectively targets the disease in every capacity. This challenge can be made even more daunting without health insurance. While implementation of new laws under the Affordable Care Act have made paying for cancer diagnosis and treatments easier through new mandates in place to help cover these costs, there are those who have to look for other means to pay for their treatments.
The Affordable Care Act makes it mandatory for most Americans to have some form of health insurance or an exemption from the rule under penalty of law. These rules for coverage still extend to those who are still carrying existing policies that are grandfathered in if they were purchased or renewed before January 1, 2014.
Unfortunately, these grandfathered plans may not fully adhere to some of the new regulations under the Affordable Care Act. People who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis may have insufficient coverage to take care of the costs associated with care.
These polices are set to expire by October of 2017. Until then, those who are insured under these plans may need help paying for their cancer treatment. Alternative forms of insurance, including short term or temporary coverage and discount plans, often provide very little, if any, help in covering the costs of life-saving screenings and treatments.
Anyone with a cancer diagnosis is going to face many obstacles and depending upon the type of diagnosis you receive as well as the severity of it. In some cases, your treatment plan may put you out of work for extended periods of time. The inability to bring in a steady income can make a bad situation even worse.
In addition to the physical and emotional hardships that are already part and parcel with having cancer, the financial toll can be devastating. There are costs that go far beyond receiving treatments. Everything can become a struggle, from travel costs to and from a medical facility to paying for food or covering rent and utility bills. Not to mention your insurance premiums that shouldn’t be allowed to lapse for fear of losing what insurance you might have to cover even a small fraction of your medical costs.
Time to Get Proactive
If your insurance doesn’t provide enough benefits to maintain care or you are simply having trouble paying for care because you don’t have the proper coverage, you’re not alone. There are a number of options before you that can be of some service in keeping you healthy through this very difficult time. However, it’s up to you to research the choices that you do have and find out which ones are appropriate for your particular diagnosis and treatment schedule.
There are a number of places to turn to as you seek treatment without having the luxury of an insurance policy that will cover those costs in full. If you are expected to make payments out of pocket, then you are going to want to check out these options first. The sooner you take this step, the better it can turn out for you.
Department of Health
As it is with any major medical issue in which you need some financial assistance, your local Department of Health is the first place to go for help. They can provide you with vital information and resources that are in place to get you the necessary treatments at no or low cost.
Your health department office may be able to provide you with a list of hospitals, care facilities, community health centers and local clinics that accept uninsured patients. Some of these locations may even be mandated to provide you with the care you need at no or low cost as part of funding programs that have been implemented or expanded in accordance with new laws under the Affordable Care Act.
The Hill-Burton Grant
Among the list of resources that the Department of Health might offer are care facilities that participate in the Hill-Burton Act. This legislation offers grants and loans to hospitals, clinics, and medical centers for a variety of uses. In return, these facilities must provide no or low cost medical care to any individual who is unable to pay for those services.
Every facility is different in terms of the services that it offers to the general public and each one has a finite budget from which care can be given. Once that hospital or care center exhausts its Hill-Burton budget for the year it is no longer under any obligation to provide no or low cost care.
There are eligibility requirements in place to determine if an individual qualifies to receive care at one of the over 180 Hill-Burton sponsored hospitals and medical centers in the United States. These requirements are based upon your annual income, size of your family, and whether or not the facility you have chosen has availability. You do not need to be citizen of the United States in order to apply to receive care under Hill-Burton.
Once you have received treatment at one of these facilities you are then eligible to apply again at any time in case you require further treatment of any kind. You can look up all you need to know about Hill-Burton sponsored facilities and where to find them by logging onto their website at www.hrsa.gov or by calling 1-800-638-0742.
Treatments for cancer can get very expensive and that includes the prescription drugs that often come along with them. There are programs in place that allow drugstores and pharmacies to provide generic versions of most prescription drugs at a fraction of the price of the name brand version. These drugs are just as effective and contain the same exact active ingredients as those you find in the more expensive name-brand versions.
Most cancer drugs are often available through this avenue, but unfortunately not all. Those you can access are usually priced at just $4 to $11 per refill. If you’re one of the many Americans trying to manage the high cost of prescription drugs, you know how much of a relief this can be for your wallet.