This is the conclusion of a three-part series called Navigating Cancer Care.
Cancer patients have a mountain of decisions to consider: Which doctor to choose? Which therapy is best? How to tell loved ones about the diagnosis? How to pay for treatment?
That last question may be the one that most deeply vexes patients, who are faced with the reality that treating cancer can take thousands and thousands of dollars, which most people don’t have at easy disposal. Financial assistance for cancer patients can be a lifesaving option that can connect them to better care, better treatment, and better outcomes. But with all of the other decisions patients have to make, how can they navigate the often-complex world of financial assistance for cancer patients?
Education is an important first step toward understanding the options, and ultimately making a smart decision. Cancer centers can connect patients with a financial advisor, who will be able to offer a picture of the different programs that specialize in financial help for cancer patients. However, each patient’s situation is different—based on their financial resources, their treatment costs and other factors—so it’s important to do independent research and be your own advocate.
Grants and scholarships exist, yet are often geared toward low-income individuals; however, even those with more savings or earning power often struggle to make ends meet after a cancer diagnosis. Other options include tapping into resources like a life insurance policy. Some patients may consider selling their policy, yet that means that they won’t later have that security for which they may have been saving for years. Another approach is borrowing against life insurance. In this case, such as with Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loan program, patients can receive up to half of their policy’s death benefit, which can provide immediate funding. Patients are able to use the money for whatever their individual needs are: medical bills, new treatments, medications or even household expenses that may be suffering because of lost wages and new costs.
Exploring financial assistance for cancer patients can be daunting for those who already have a significant amount to consider; however, taking the time to understand the options and come up with a practical and personalized financial plan can give patients not only a sense of security but a better chance for recovery.