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Managing the Financial Side of Cancer Care

Posted on Friday, June 22, 2018

Money might not be the first thing you think of when you and your doctor talk about your cancer treatment plan. But as the costs of medications, doctor visits, scans, and procedures start to add up, you may wonder: How am I going to pay for all of this?

Cancer treatment can quickly become costly for many people. Even with an excellent insurance plan, most patients will still need to pay for a portion of their care. And it’s not unusual for someone’s income to drop during treatment because they aren’t able to work as much. Or if they have to leave work, they may lose their health care coverage altogether.

All of this added stress can affect quality of life. “A cancer diagnosis in and of itself can be overwhelming,” said Anita Colón, Senior Corporate Director of Patient Financial Services for Fox Chase Cancer Center and Temple University Health System. “When you start to add in the financial complexities, it can become even more overwhelming.”

The good news is that there are resources that can make managing your costs easier. Here’s what every patient should know about the financial side of cancer care and what Fox Chase, in particular, can do to help you.

Understand Your Potential Costs

It’s a good idea to learn details about your care before you begin treatment. This can give you a sense of your overall expenses so you can start planning for them. Depending on your treatment needs, your costs could include:

  • Visits with your provider
  • Lab work, like blood or urine tests
  • Imaging tests, such as x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs
  • Treatments, like chemotherapy or radiation
  • Medications
  • Hospital stays
  • Surgeries
  • In-home care

Financial counselors can help you figure out how much you’ll need to pay for different parts of your treatment, as well as assist you in applying for assistance if you cannot afford your out-of-pocket expenses. If you don’t feel up to dealing with money issues on your own, consider putting a family member or trusted friend in charge. They can help keep track of costs.

How Fox Chase Can Help

Fox Chase’s financial services team is dedicated to helping you manage the costs of your care. “Our counselors will meet with you not only to explain your healthcare coverage, but we’ll always look to see if there are other options,” Colȯn explained. That might include:

  • Helping you find a more comprehensive insurance plan. If you’re currently on COBRA, for instance, a healthcare marketplace plan might be more affordable.
  • Seeing whether you qualify for a supplemental insurance plan, including Medicaid.
  • Determining eligibility for Charity Care and/or financial assistance. Depending on your income, you may qualify for free or reduced-priced care.
  • Helping you research other patient assistance programs. Drugs are one of the most expensive pieces of cancer care. But many pharmaceutical companies have programs to help cover costs.

Call or Visit Us

You can learn more about your financial assistance options by contacting Fox Chase’s Financial Counseling Department at 215-728-2678. Our counselors are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information about billing or for help understanding your insurance coverage, you can also head to the Patient Financial Services Department.

For questions or comments about this post, please contact us.

Fox Chase Cancer Center-Temple Health

About Fox Chase Conversations

Cancer Conversations is the Fox Chase Cancer Center blog for news and analysis from staff and friends of the Center, reflecting current news in the field of oncology.

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