Tips for Affording Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer among women in the United States. It causes thousands of deaths and significant pain and suffering for many families every year. Thankfully, there are treatments that can cure breast cancer, and many survivors go on to live healthy and happy lives. However, many of these treatments are quite expensive, and health insurance often only puts a small dent in the cost of treatment. Follow along for tips and resources families can use to afford cancer treatment.
Work With Your Providers
It is commonly known that although treatment is necessary, it’s also very costly. While the amount you owe on your first bill might be terrifying, never take that amount at face value. There are many ways you can reduce the amount you owe.
First, ask your medical provider about discounts or sliding scales. Many offices will offer these options to help lower costs, especially if you don’t have insurance or are underinsured. Also, be sure to ask for an itemized bill that lists every service you are being charged for. Medical bills often contain mistakes, and an itemized bill allows you to dispute services you were charged for but didn’t receive. If your insurance is not covering something you believe to be covered by your plan, you can also take a look at the medical billing code that was used, and ask your provider to re-code and re-submit the claim.
If this isn’t enough to allow you to afford your bills, ask your medical providers about a zero-interest payment plan, or a discount for paying a certain amount immediately. Remember, medical providers want to get paid for their services, so most of the time they are willing to work with you, even if that means a discount or a payment plan.
Take Advantage of the Current Economy
The economy is struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will likely be the case for some time. However, there are a few positives. Currently, interest rates are at record lows, meaning that borrowed money has become affordable and accessible for many. If you’re faced with a large ongoing bill, much like the cost of cancer treatment, this can be a valuable resource.
If you currently own a home, you have the option to refinance your mortgage to lower your monthly payments. No-closing-cost refinances are also available, meaning you can benefit from lower monthly payments on your mortgage, without having to fork over hundreds of dollars to cover the closing fees. If a refinance doesn’t interest you, there is also the option of a home equity loan or home equity line of credit.
If you’re not a homeowner, there are still ways you can benefit from low interest rates. Personal loan rates are currently low, although not as low as lines of credit with collateral, such as car loans and mortgages, and can be used for just about any purpose, including medical bills. This option is much cheaper than using credit cards to pay medical bills.
Reach Out for Help
In an ideal world, cancer treatment would be affordable for everyone, with no need to cut back or take out loans. Sadly, that is not the case. There is no shame in asking for help, especially when it comes to something as serious as a breast cancer diagnosis. It may be worth reaching out to family and friends and ask if they can spare anything to help with the cost of treatment.
Even if they can’t help with the monetary cost of treatment, they may be able to help with other tasks such as making meals, cleaning, babysitting your children, and traveling to and from appointments.
If your own personal circle is not in a position to help you out, consider crowdfunding your treatment. These platforms allow you to raise money for the cause of your choice, including medical treatment. Popular examples of platforms would be GoFundMe, GiveForward and FundRazr.
To experience the most success on these platforms, it’s important to be transparent about your needs, post frequent updates and share across multiple social media platforms. You can also supplement online crowdfunding with old-fashioned fundraising such as raffle tickets, community benefit dinners and more.
Finally, consider looking into medical financial aid to help offset the cost of treatment. Most hospitals have a financial aid department, which can help you through the process of applying for grants and other forms of assistance. There may even be the opportunity for your bill to be reduced or forgiven, depending on the provider and your financial situation.
Cut Costs Where You Can
One of the simplest ways to free up more money for treatment is to cut costs in other areas of your life. Generally, it’s a bad idea to cut costs on things that involve medical care or safety. However, there are other areas where you can reduce expenses.
For example, take a look at your account and see if there are any subscription services you don’t use or need. Consider shopping at discount stores, such as Aldi or Sam’s Club, and using online apps that can help you save money when shopping online.
When it comes to other bills, many companies will give you a discount if you sign a long-term contract, or agree to use autopay services. Even bundling services with the same company can help you save money, especially with things like insurance and cable or internet.
It’s an unfortunate reality that the cost of cancer treatment is expensive for many families. However, there are ways to help reduce the cost of treatment and the debt incurred from it.