Dealing with the treatment costs of leukemia can be difficult whether or not you have health insurance. Services like inpatient hospital stays, surgery, radiology, anticancer therapies, and bone marrow transplants can amount to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket health care costs even if you have a good health insurance plan.
Although a leukemia diagnosis may present a huge financial burden, there are different programs in the United States to help uninsured people with the cost of leukemia care. Insurance plans, hospital-based programs, patient assistance programs, and other financial assistance programs help cover both direct and indirect costs of treatment for different types of leukemia.
Health insurance premiums, deductibles, and copays may seem unaffordable, but navigating leukemia care without insurance will be a much higher expense. This article discusses financial resources for leukemia care if you’re uninsured and options for health insurance coverage.
Consider your health insurance options when planning your finances for leukemia care. Although health insurance plans may seem expensive, health care providers and hospitals work with insurance companies to make coverage more affordable, and so it will help you to pay less for care in the long run.
There are several public and private health insurance programs that can help reduce your out-of-pocket medical costs.
Public health insurance programs include the following:
If you do not qualify for a public health insurance program, there are several options for private health insurance:
If you absolutely cannot get health insurance coverage, there are different ways and programs to help you afford medications and medical services. Consider some of these tips for lowering the costs of your medications:
If you are uninsured and have trouble paying a medical bill, try meeting in person with someone from the hospital or the financial office of the clinic where you received treatment. Explain your situation and ask if they can offer any of the following assistive options:
Oncology social workers, patient navigators, and financial counselors can help you navigate resources for affording leukemia treatment without insurance. They will know of different ways to save money on care and assistance programs that you may be eligible for.
Oncology social workers will also know of local city and county-based medical aid options for low-income and uninsured people. If you have trouble locating a social worker, CancerCare offers oncology social workers that you can contact at 800-813-4673.
Clinical trials could be an option for accessing free or low-cost leukemia treatment if you’re uninsured. Clinical trials are research studies that examine the efficacy of new drugs and procedures. Clinical trials may also assess existing drugs used in new conditions or new combinations. Ask your doctor about your eligibility for participation in a clinical trial. The National Cancer Institute offers a list of upcoming or current clinical trials for different types of leukemia treatment.
Although a clinical trial participant may not have to pay for the actual treatment costs, there may be other costs of taking part in a clinical trial like doctor visits and transportation that would be difficult to afford if you’re uninsured. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offers a list of resources for covering costs associated with a clinical trial.
There are additional resources and programs to review if you’re uninsured and need assistance covering the expenses of leukemia care. Some resources for leukemia and general cancer assistance are listed below. The National Cancer Institute also offers a list of support organizations.
In addition to financial resources for the medical expenses of leukemia, there are resources to help with nonmedical expenses, like those for transportation and lodging, childcare, mortgages, and food. The American Cancer Society offers more information about these resources.
Talking to other people who understand what you are going through can be a great source of emotional support.
MyLeukemiaTeam is the social network for people with leukemia. On MyLeukemiaTeam, more than 9,600 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with leukemia.
Are you uninsured and living with leukemia? Have you had success getting help with your medical care costs? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.