Strategies for Funding Chemotherapy Treatments

November 22, 2023 | By Adam Lippman

Strategies for Funding Chemotherapy Treatments

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The financial responsibilities accompanying chemotherapy treatments can be overwhelming, with substantial expenses arising whether you have a health care plan or not. Despite these challenges, you can pay for chemotherapy in a few different ways.

From government assistance to clever budgeting and looking into your insurance options, these strategies can help you understand the budgetary requirements of your treatment plan while allowing you to focus on your health.

What Does Chemotherapy Entail?

Chemotherapy is administered intravenously, orally or through a combination of both. This treatment is often used alongside radiation and surgery to destroy cancer cells. It is essential to understand what your chemotherapy encompasses. This knowledge will help you prepare for the costs you may incur. Cancer treatment often includes expenses for:

  • Laboratory testing:¬†Part of a cancer treatment plan are various laboratory tests, like blood, urine, and tissue, to monitor your progress and general health. The laboratory may bill you directly, even if you have health insurance.
  • Doctor visits:¬†You regularly visit a doctor or specialist during treatment. A co-pay requirement often accompanies these visits, as most insurance plans will only pay for a portion.
  • Imaging tests:¬†More health care monitoring includes X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to track your progress. Most insurance policies only cover these tests some of the time.
  • Treatment:¬†Drug therapy, radiation, and surgery are all cancer treatments that may form part of your care. Medical insurance plans often cover intravenous drugs, but pills and surgery might only receive partial coverage.

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What Is the Average Cost of Chemotherapy With Insurance?

When starting chemotherapy, understanding your current health insurance and what it covers is vital. You want to ensure you know exactly what your insurance covers and which network providers they partner with. The type of cancer and its stage are good starting points for determining what the total treatment cost may amount to. If the disease is more advanced, chemotherapy will likely cost more. A few variables that also contribute to this pricing include:

  • Number of treatments:¬†As each treatment is priced individually, the total number will contribute to the total cost.
  • Treatment duration:¬†The treatment could last for several weeks or months, adding to the overall cost.
  • Type of therapy:¬†Various chemotherapy drugs are priced individually, and accumulating these will determine the per-treatment cost.
  • Location:¬†Your geographic location and the ease of access to necessary treatments will affect prices.
  • Additional medications:¬†Adding to the treatment cost is the price of medications to help you manage side effects.
  • Treatment setting:¬†The cost of treatment may also depend on the clinic or hospital you go to. You will find chemotherapy treatments through your health care provider.

Considering these factors, out-of-pocket costs can cost upwards of $8,000, and chemotherapy can cost between $1,000 and $12,000 monthly for treatment.

How Much Does Chemotherapy Cost Without Insurance?

Those with no health insurance can face payments between $10,000 and $200,000

Those with no health insurance can face payments between $10,000 and $200,000, depending on the various factors contributing to the cost of chemotherapy treatment plans.

How to Manage Chemotherapy Costs

Whether you have a health care insurance plan or not, cancer treatments require planning for the financial repercussions. To ensure you are billed correctly, ask about any charges on your bills that you need help understanding. Here are a few ways you can stay on top of the costs:

  • List of treatments:¬†Compile a list of treatments and other associated expenses you can expect. Contact your health care team for assistance in creating this list.
  • Set a budget:¬†As far as possible, know what expenses you can expect and determine how to pay for these.
  • Network providers:¬†Going to in-network health care providers means your health insurance is more likely to pay for treatments.
  • Negotiation:¬†The hospital billing office and your health care providers can assist you in negotiating lower costs for out-of-pocket expenses.

How to Pay for Chemotherapy

You may need to source additional funds to pay for medical expenses your health insurance does not cover. You can ask various institutions about payment plans, arrange monthly payments that fit within your budget, or look into these options to mitigate costs:

  • Pharmaceutical assistance programs:¬†Some corporations offer assistance with insurance repayments and discounted medication. You can determine if you qualify by contacting the company that manufactures your prescription medication.
  • Government resources:¬†Several government resources are available to people who need cancer treatments. Medicare¬†covers chemotherapy and several other cancer treatments¬†for people who are 65 or older, including inpatient stays and outpatient treatments. Medicaid offers¬†health benefits to patients with a limited income, and the Social Security program pays disability benefits to qualifying persons who cannot work due to a medical condition. The¬†United States Department of Veterans Affairs¬†caters to U.S. military personnel, veterans and their dependents.
  • Crowdfunding and community support:¬†You can use vetted platforms to appeal to friends, family, and the general public for donations towards your payments.
  • Grants and assistance programs:¬†Many institutions offer assistance with cancer treatment, including the Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition, the Patient Access Network Foundation, and the Patient Advocate Foundation.
  • Sell your life insurance policy:¬†You can sell your life insurance policy to receive a lump sum payout you can use now to pay for medical treatments or other expenses.

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Life Insurance Settlements

To mitigate the increasing costs without taking on debt, you can consider selling your life insurance policy to a third party. You can sell your policy in two ways, and both offer the benefit of financial support during this time:

  • Life Settlement:¬†If you no longer need or cannot afford your life insurance policy,¬†you can sell it to pay¬†for your chemotherapy treatments.
  • Viatical Settlement:¬†This option is for people with a terminal illness diagnosis,¬†delivering immediate funds you can use¬†to pay off medical bills.

Get the Most out of Your Life Settlement

Along with careful financial planning to fund treatment, support programs are essential to recovery. Several reputable groups offer online and in-person communities, like the American Cancer Society, support groups available on CancerCare, Friend for Life cancer support network, and Cancer Support Community, which also offers valuable educational resources.

Since 2002, we have taken our fiduciary responsibility seriously, and we use a data-driven process to help our clients get the maximum value from their life insurance policies. Our Life Settlement brokers can help you understand your options and increase the competitive bidding to help you get the best settlement for your life insurance policy. Contact Settlement Benefits Association today to get started.

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