If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, adenocarcinoma, mesothelioma or silicosis, you may be concerned about the cost of treatment. Medical bills and expenses related to cancer treatment can add up quickly. For patients and families, managing finances is just one more thing to concern themselves with, which is difficult when you are focused on getting treatment.
That’s why at LungInjuries.org, we want to make sure that you know what resources are available to help you manage your finances.
Around 73% of cancer patients struggle with financial problems.
Below, we discuss some of the options you may have to get financial assistance, be it help paying your medical costs or getting help organizing your finances.
How Expensive is Lung Injury Treatment?
Any type of serious injury or cancer involves a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Often, some or all of these treatments are not covered by health insurance. Patients with lung injuries often find themselves with mounting out-of-pocket expenses, such as:
- Medical equipment
- Child care
- Vehicle maintenance
If the patient is suddenly unable to work, then your family may face a combination of mounting bills and reduced income. The results can be devastating. Often, patients will forego the treatment they really need because they are afraid of being a financial burden. This concern is reasonable when you consider the following:
- The average cost of cancer treatment is around $150,000.
- Cancer patients pay as much as $12,000 per year in out-of-pocket costs.
- Cancer drugs can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 per month.
- Chemotherapy can cost between $1,000 and $12,000 per month.
- Lung cancer diagnosis and treatment can cost more than $200,000.
The truth is that money should never be a barrier to getting the treatment you need. Yes, the costs associated with treatment can seem overwhelming. But you don’t have to bear that burden alone. There are ways that you can get help managing finances and moving forward after a diagnosis.
Finding the Right Insurance
One of the best ways to minimize the financial impact of a lung injury diagnosis is to have the right insurance. Adequate health insurance can go a long way toward covering the cost of testing and treatment. In Canada, you can apply for public health insurance, which covers the cost of most healthcare services. Also, each province and territory has their own health insurance plan, so make sure you know what coverage is available in your area.
Often, there is a waiting list to get health insurance. Sometimes, this can take up to three months. In the meantime, you do have access to free emergency services. However, an ongoing treatment plan will require you to have a health insurance card in order to access your benefits at appointments.
Getting Financial Support
When you are diagnosed with a serious lung injury, you may be put in contact with individuals who can help. This may include:
- Oncology social workers
- Case managers
- Oncology nurses
From here, you may have access to resources like:
- Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition
- The Canadian Red Cross
- Canada Care Medical
- Canada Grant Watch
- Canadian Cancer Society
- Hope Air
- Wellspring’s Money Matters Program
- Triage Cancer
- The Quebec Pensions Plan
- Service Canada Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
- Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
These are all resources that can help you find financial assistance, or find ways to better manage your finances as you adjust to your treatment plan. Many of these organizations can help you cover the cost of certain services, such as transportation and prescriptions. Others can help you set up a survivorship care plan, which helps track and plan your expenses.
All of these organizations have the same goal – to ensure that patients get adequate care without the financial toxicity that often comes with a diagnosis. It is well understood that patients have better outcomes, overall, when they are not burdened by finances and associated depression or anxiety.
What about Legal Help?
In some cases, a patient with lung cancer, adenocarcinoma, mesothelioma or silicosis may be able to get legal help covering their medical costs. These cases involve disease that is the direct result of someone else’s negligence, such as an employer.
For example, if someone worked in mining and was never trained or provided personal protective equipment (PPE) and he developed silicosis, he may have a claim that his employer was negligent. If he can prove his employer knew the risks and did not provide a safe working environment, he may be able to pursue compensation that will help cover the cost of his treatment.
The best way to find out if legal help is available to you is to speak with an attorney about your situation.
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