Breast Cancer Awareness Month – The Need to Prepare for Medical Costs

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Cancer is a very devastating disease which can change many people’s lives because of the astronomical costs in treating it. Unfortunately, many women do not have adequate health coverage to cover their expenses. As a result, many resort to fundraising to accumulate the funds necessary to undergo treatment.

The average costs for breast cancer treatment total $128,556 over approximately a one and one half year treatment period, which includes doctors’ visits, outpatient visits, hospital visits, and inpatient stays, for women who received chemotherapy as their primary source of treatment. For women who have health insurance, especially now with the high deductibles which employees must pay under the current Health Care Reform, many will have substantial out of pocket costs which are not covered under their health care plans. As a result, many will have to resort to fundraising, borrowing money from family, friends, and employers, or paying with credit cards. If the patient happens to be a business owner, their businesses may suffer, causing bankruptcies because of the high medical costs.

One alternative to seeking funding for the balances which are not covered, is to purchase voluntary or supplemental coverage through an employer. Cancer policies are available which would cover most, if not all of the out of pocket costs not covered under health insurance policies. The out-of-pocket costs would be deductibles and co-payments.

Additionally, a short term and/or a long term disability policy would replace a portion of income lost during treatment. In some cases, the cost of premiums for these policies would be waived during the period of disability enabling the patient to keep the policy in force.

In order to ensure that there is adequate funding in the event that an employee or family member develops cancer, the employee must plan to have the coverage before the diagnosis is made. The employees would not be able to secure coverage for cancer after receiving the diagnosis from the doctor. It is impossible for us to know whether or not we will develop cancer during our lifetimes. Purchasing the coverage and ensuring that we have adequate disability insurance in addition to a cancer indemnity policy while we are healthy, would greatly reduce the stress in determining how we will pay for the cost of medical care.

Once employees purchase a supplemental or voluntary benefits plan to cover out-of-pocket costs or a portion of income, it is important to keep the policies in force. Once they lapse, it may be impossible to reinstate coverage. Most policies have a waiting period during which coverage would not be affordable if the employee is diagnosed, receives medical care or advice before the policy’s effective date. Proper planning is necessary to keep the policies in force.

In conclusion, taking surefire steps to protect one’s income and business through disability policies and cancer policies will enable employees to receive and pay for proper medical care, as well as to continue supporting the family.

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