My Cancer Journey

How to pay for your Cancer Treatment

Reducing external stressors when you are dealing with this type of condition is very important. Knowing how you will pay for your cancer treatment will relieve a lot of stress. Here are some ideas you may want to explore to help you feel financially taken care of during your journey back to health.


Ways to replace your income during Cancer treatment

TEMPORARY DISABILITY – SDI STATE DISABILITY INSURANCE
If your employer has been paying into this program for you, you may be eligible for temporary disability or SDI. This will vary by state, ask your employer or do a search for SDI or state disability insurance in your state. The program can pay 60-70% of your salary for up to a year. Apply online and have your doctor support your request which is easily done online as well. Processing time in California is 14 days and payouts are made onto a debit card which is sent automatically. You can use the debit card or make online transfers to your bank account.


SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
Based on your diagnosis, if you are expected to be disabled for one year or more, you can apply for social security disability. This is a longer term federal program which can offer other benefits such as secondary insurance via Medicare or Medicaid. These can act as secondary insurance and help pay for your cancer treatment. I did not explore this option but it may be the way to go for some.


PAID FAMILY LEAVE
If your caretaker is forced to stop working as well, they can apply for Paid Family Leave. This program will pay them up the 70% of their salary while they help you. This required doctors to fill out a few forms but the application process is rather staight forward. II believe the program can support your caretaker for up to a year but this may vary per state. You also want to check with your employer as they may limit the length of Paid Family Leave they allow.


Additional funding

Let’s face it, you do not know how long you will not be able to work. You will also going to be faced with additional expenses. Copays for doctor visits, tests and scans tend to add up pretty quick. And even if you manage to get on some form of disability, you may need some extra support to cover the missing 30-40% of your salary not paid out by the program. Here are additional ways to pay for your cancer treatment.


LIFE INSURANCE POLICY
If you have a life insurance policy, contact your agent and ask them about releasing some of your death benefit to help cover some of your expenses. Some policies will allow you to take out up to 50% of your death benefit when diagnosed with a serious illness. Cancer will usually qualify. They will often require you to authorize the release of your medical records and the process may take some time but it is well worth it. You can check with your CPA but often these types of payouts are non taxable as long as the policy is kept active.


COMMUNITY SUPPORT
You may want to look into opening a GoFundMe campaign. This offers a way for family members, friends and anyone really to make a donation to help pay for your cancer treatment and support you on your path to recovery. The process is simple and free. Set a financial goal which is based on your needs (medical bills, additional expenses and possible income support for example). Share your story with pictures and you are done. You can then share the link to your GoFundMe page with anyone. Once you start receiving donations, you can set up withdrawals to your bank account. Once they kick in, withdrawals to your account are made daily. You can easily add updates to your page which will also be sent to your donors.


HELP FROM DRUG MANUFACTURERS
While the following is not exactly a way to pay for your cancer treatment, it is a way to lessen the cost of your treatment.
If you are doing chemo, there is a strong chance you will be prescribed and additional injection called Neupogen. The purpose of this drug is to help your body make additional white blood cells – boost your immune system. One of the side effects of chemo can be a drastic drop in white blood cells. When the pharmacy called me to set up payment for Neupogen, I was told my copay was going to be $400. With 4 rounds of chemo, this copay alone was going to be quite expensive. It turns out the manufacturer has a copay assistance program, all you have to do is call and sign up. This brought my copay down from $400 to $5 – amazing. So always ask if there is a copay assistance program for drugs you are being prescribed. Chances are you can drastically lower high copays.

Neupogen copay assistance:
Contact Amgen directly at (866) 657 8371 this has allowed me to save over $400 in copays. All you have to do is apply. There are no specific eligibility requirements as far as I was able to tell. I did not need to submit proof of income either.