|Breast Cancer In Young Women|
|Breast Cancer In Young Women|
|Understanding Breast Cancer||Survivorship Phases|
|Understanding Metastatic Breast Cancer||Survivor Stories|
|Young Women at High Risk||Statistics and Disparities|
|Getting Back That Evening Dress Look||Living Your Best: Quality of Life|
|Handling the Details||Research|
|For Caregivers||Healthcare Professionals|
|Partners And Sponsors|
Navigating the ins and outs of health insurance can cause anyone stress. The challenges and complexity only increase with a cancer diagnosis. However, if you educate yourself about your options and the various rules and regulations, you can make the best decisions for you. Find advice on this page for managing the often-confusing world of insurance or the lack thereof:
Ensure you get the most out of your health-insurance plan by informing yourself about your options. Understand all your plan’s benefits and policies. You will likely find answers to many of your questions on your insurance provider’s website or within your written policy. If you don’t have a copy, ask your employer or the insurance company for one.
Often, it’s easier to call your insurance company’s member-services department directly and ask the following questions:
Keep your records: Remember - don’t throw away insurance mail or mail from your doctors. Be sure to look over all literature, documents and bills from your insurance company. Insurers do sometimes bill patients incorrectly or charge for things that should be covered—so it can pay to be your own advocate. Oftentimes you’ll receive multiple pieces of mail about one appointment or service. For example, you may receive the first bill from your doctor, followed by an explanation of benefits from your insurance provider, followed by a second doctor’s bill with the insurance payment noted all for the same service or appointment. Keep track of all bills and all payments—and all conversations with your insurance representatives. Utilize the forms and filing systems found in YSC’s Treatment or Metastatic Navigators to help you stay organized. All this information might sound overwhelming, but organization can pay off. It’s also a great way to involve a friend or family member who wants to help.
Your insurance company might be able to help you stay organized, too. Many have case-management departments to help members who have serious, chronic illnesses. These professionals can help coordinate all of your medical needs and give you the support of a consistent voice as you manage your breast cancer. Ask your member-services representative if you are eligible for a case manager and if he/she can assign you one.
A breast cancer diagnosis brings enough challenges—young women who lack health insurance can face even more stress. Know, however, that you have options. Various resources can help you pay your bills. The following may help with diagnostic procedures and treatment:
This government program helps those in need, and who qualify, cover their medical costs. You may qualify for Social Security benefits if your breast cancer fits at least one of these descriptions: inoperable cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, or recurrent cancer (except local recurrence that is controlled by prescribed therapy or comes in the form of distant metastases). Proving your disability can be very challenging and may take several months. Use the assistance of a social worker or other social service provider. Check your eligibility for this help and learn more about the benefits at the Social Security Disability website.
This federal program helps disabled people with little or no income meet the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. Those eligible may also qualify for additional state benefits, like Medicaid, food stamps and other social services. Check your eligibility at the SSI website.
This program can help you when breast cancer interferes with your ability to work. It replaces part or all of your pay when an injury or illness unrelated to work keeps you away from your job for a short time. For example, if a new chemotherapy regimen makes working difficult, you might be eligible. Typically, you’ll get a weekly benefit for 13-to-26 weeks. In five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island –along with Puerto Rico), the state mandates this insurance program.
You also have the option of buying short-term disability insurance on your won. However, this often costs a lot and might not cover short-term disability caused by your cancer.
You might also have short-term disability insurance through your job. Work with your employer to review your policy’s terms and ensure you get the benefits you deserve. When and if you make a claim, do so as soon as possible after you stop working.
This program can also help you when breast cancer interferes with your job—in this case, for a longer period. If an illness or injury (again, unrelated to work) has already kept you away from work for some time and you can expect to be away for an extended time, this program can help. It will replace all or part of your pay. Typically, you get this insurance along with short-term disability, but you can also receive or buy it as a separate policy. As with short-term disability, you should work with your employer to receive your specific benefits.
This federal, insurance program usually helps people older than 65, but it can also cover younger people if they are disabled. Different parts of the program pay for hospital care, home healthcare, doctors’ services and prescription medication. Keep in mind that, even if you have Medicare, you might have to pay for premiums, deductibles and copayments. For people with low-incomes, state Medicaid programs can cover these out-of-pocket payments. (See below.) Ask your Medicare representative if that option is available to you. Even you have commercial insurance; Medicaid can still cover out-of-pocket costs if you have low income.
This state program helps low-income people of all ages pay their medical bills. The program covers almost all of your medical costs, aside from some small copayments for emergency room visits and prescription drugs. These cost between $5 and $10. Eligibility requirements vary by state. You can find out more at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website or at 1.800.MEDICARE (800.633.4227). This toll-free service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.