Health Insurance – Young Adults with Cancer Series, “Moving Forward”

As a patient you may feel that there’s another
burden that complicates your treatment, and that’s all the bills you get, and all paperwork
you get. Health insurance is crucial when you’re being
treated for cancer. And health insurance is very, very complicated. Now as a young adult you might be without
health insurance. Health insurance is often not something that
young adults have thought about. So if you have been diagnosed, if you are
being treated, if you don’t have insurance of your own, the absolute first thing to do
is to look at whether or not your parents can insure you through their insurance. The second thing, if that isn’t possible,
is to find out what’s available to you through government financing and perhaps through some
help from private organizations. The bills that you’re going to have from cancer
treatment are doctors bills, and treatment bills, and bills for scans, and perhaps you’re
admitted to a hospital. There’s a whole range of costs that you’re
going to have, and they mount up pretty quickly. So health insurance is really key. So it’s a question that either you or someone
who’s close to you should ask early on and start to explore what your insurance actually
covers. When you’re being treated for cancer you’re
going to get bills from people you don’t remember seeing. It’s going to be really confusing. And they’re going to start to come in probably
weeks, months after you’ve started all this. There’s a lot to be said for trying to organize
in some way. I’d suggest to you that you keep track of
it, either have a folder or perhaps you can delegate somebody in your immediate circle,
some relative or friend, to help you with it. Let’s stay on top of it. Ask questions, make sure you don’t fall behind,
because otherwise you might find that you have even more problems when you end your
cancer treatment. At a bare minimum, you should take all of
these bills and put them in one place. That’s the absolute bare minimum. Take a shoe box and put them all there. It is more useful than doing just that, to
actually have a system. These are bills from the physician, these
are bills from treatment, these are bills for scans or tests that I’ve had. So you have some organization that tells you
what’s been paid, what you owe, what’s the time in which you need to pay it. Also, it’s really crucial to take a look at
these bills and make sure they’re right. Because often there are mistakes in bills,
and if you’re questioning what this bill is for, you should call whoever has sent this
bill and understand exactly what you’re being billed for and why you’re being billed now. You may want to look at Cancer.Net and see
what resources there are. There are links to community services. There may be specific individuals in your
doctor’s team who have experience with this – sometimes a financial counselor or social
worker or somebody who’s designated to help you, to navigate the system, which can be
very complicated. There are healthcare professionals in the
setting that you’re being treated or in the community who can give you some resources. There are actually some people who, as their
job now, work with people to actually figure this all out. That costs money, and that might be another
cost, above and beyond what you have. But there are also healthcare professionals
in community-based organizations that can steer you to resources that will help you
get some understanding in all of this. [music]

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