Financial Planning During and After Cancer Treatment

Jun 3 • 2016

Today is National Cancer Survivor’s Day, and although it is certainly something to celebrate, many people don’t realize the stress that still exists even after the cancer is gone. One of the biggest issues people face after treatment is how to recover financially. Whether you worked during cancer treatment or took time off, depending on what procedures you had and what your insurance covered, you may now find yourself struggling with the leftover financial burden. Here are some things to consider when it comes to cancer-related financial planning both during and after treatment.

To Work or Not To Work?
Whether or not you can continue to work during cancer treatment depends on what type of treatment you are undergoing, how serious your diagnosis is, and what kind of job you have. You’ll want to speak with your doctor regarding his recommendation and discuss the situation with your boss before making a decision. Depending on your personal needs and willingness of your superiors to help out, you may also want to consider a reduced schedule or workload to accommodate your condition. By continuing to work during treatment, you can reevaluate your overall budget and set aside some additional money in savings. If working during cancer treatment isn’t an option, talk to your HR department to see what options you have for short- or long-term disability and what amount of income each option provides.

Evaluate Your Health Insurance
Knowing what your health insurance will cover ahead of time can also help you plan for any financial needs. Make sure you completely understand:

  • How much your deductible is
  • What out of pocket expenses are included in your deductible
  • What co-pays you’ll be expected to pay at various appointments
  • How much your out of pocket maximum is
  • What dates your insurance covers
  • How your prescription plan works and what it covers
  • Special services offered by your insurance company to help with needs you might have

If you find that you’re underinsured, talk to the accounting department at your doctor’s office or hospital to see if they can help you find programs that assist with bill pay, provide payment plans, or offer financial assistance.

Look for Help from Cancer Organizations
Many national and local organizations may offer financial assistance for wigs and medical devices if your health insurance plan doesn’t already cover them. Other organizations provide donated items, including wigs and head coverings. If you need supplements or additional vitamins, see if your doctor has samples he can provide you with. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help from your doctor, insurance, church, or other local organizations – you may be surprised by what they can provide.

Speak with a Financial Planner
Once you’ve determined what is covered by your insurance, whether you’ll be working, and if you’ll be getting income from disability, you can sit down with a financial planner. During this meeting, you can determine the best way to allocate money toward bills and other responsibilities while also addressing medical costs along the way. By being proactive, you can avoid falling into debt that is difficult to overcome later on. A financial planner can provide you with the best possible advice for your situation and help you stay on track throughout your treatment and after it ends.

Are there any special tricks you or your loved ones used to help with your finances after cancer treatment? We’d love to hear them in the comments section.