Health Insurance exists to help people when they become ill. Unfortunately, many people are finding that their policies are being cancelled when they are diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer.
In many cases, people with cancer may find themselves unable to work. As a result, insurance companies are canceling their policies. Without insurance coverage, there is little hope that cancer patients will be able to afford the treatment needed to defeat their disease.
If Your Insurance is Cancelled
If you are facing cancer treatment without medical insurance, discuss any cost-related worries with your doctor, the hospital social worker, and the hospital’s business office before you begin treatment. They doctor may be able to recommend alternative treatments, the social worker can lead you to outside resources to help with payment, and the business office can set up a plan to work with you.
Maintaining Health Insurance During Cancer Treatments
The following tips can help you to maintain health insurance while undergoing treatment for cancer:
Consider health insurance alternatives before you begin treatment (e.g., switching to your spouse’s policy).
Do NOT quit your job until you have located an affordable insurance company that covers people with pre-existing conditions.
Some plans only cover pre-existing conditions after 12 months of coverage. Read the fine print, and make sure your old coverage doesn’t lapse before the new coverage goes into effect.
Getting Your Insurance Company to Pay for Your Cancer Treatments
The following tips will help you get the most from your insurance coverage:
Obtain a copy of your insurance policy prior to treatment and find out exactly what your coverage includes.
Keep careful records of all your covered expenses and claims.
File claims for all covered costs.
Get help in filing a claim if you need it. If friends or family can’t help, ask a social worker.
If your claim is denied, find out why and file your claim again. Ask your doctor to explain to the company why the services meet the requirements for coverage under your policy. If you are turned down again, find out if the company has an appeals process.
If you believe your claim has been unjustly denied, file an appeal.
Lobbying for Change
Health Insurances companies should be more sensitive to the delicate, and sometimes dire situations of cancer patients. If you feel that your insurance company has treated you unfairly, call your state insurance commissioner. If your policy was cancelled, write a letter to your Congressman asking for help with enacting legislation that would force insurance companies to offer insurance premium forgiveness to cancer patients. Help put an end to unacceptable insurance practices.
Henry J: Getting Cancer: Understanding the Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. San Clemente, CA: Shining Lion Publications, 2008.
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