After a mesothelioma diagnosis, there are a lot of things to think about. You will undoubtedly experience many emotions and your time may be taken up in considering your prognosis and your doctor’s recommendations. You’ll be focused on treatment options, informing your friends and family and learning more about the disease. The last thing you need to add on top of all that is financial stress.
Unfortunately, mesothelioma can be very expensive to treat, and the disease can come with a wave of unexpected costs. Imaging tests, biopsies, surgeries and therapies such as chemo and radiation may all be part of your treatment plan. From the significant expenses associated with treatment to the secondary costs incurred by traveling for care, accommodation, lost income and interest incurred on credit or loans, costs can add up quickly.
Some of the financial stress that comes with a mesothelioma diagnosis can be mitigated by extensive pre-planning. While there’s only so much time you have to plan after being diagnosed, considering your finances and options in advance and staying organized throughout the process is the best way to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Understanding Your Health Insurance
Before you can accurately assess your finances, you need to fully understand what is already covered.
Health Insurance Update
A survey of 2,000 health insurance consumers in the US indicated that 96% of Americans could not define the top 4 health insurance terms (deductible, co-insurance, co-pay, out-of-pocket maximum).
Here’s a quick summary of these terms:
- Deductible: Deductible is a certain amount of money that you pay for your healthcare before the insurance company pays on a claim. Overall, when you pay higher premiums, then you have lower deductibles. Inversely, lower premiums give you higher deductibles.
- Coinsurance: Coinsurance is the percentage of costs for a health care service you pay after you have paid your deductible. For example, if your health insurance plan permits $100 for an office visit and your coinsurance is 20%, if you have paid your deductible, then you will pay $20 for the office visit and the insurance company will pay $80. However, if you haven’t paid all of your deductible yet, you will pay the full $100 for the visit.
- Copayment: Copayment (or copay) is a fixed amount that you need to pay for a covered health care service. Generally, if your plan has higher premiums, you will have lower copays. Depending on your plan, copayments may kick in before or after you have reached your deductible. There will be different amounts specified for different services. For example, you may need to make a $25 copayment for an office visit and a $15 copayment for a prescription or a lab test.
- Out-of-Pocket Maximum: This is the most that you will have to pay for all of your covered services in a year. After you reach this amount (including all of your deductibles, copayments and coinsurance) then your health care plan covers the ALL of the remaining costs of your covered benefits. The out-of-pocket maximum does not include your monthly premiums. For 2017, the out-of-pocket maximum is $7,150 for an individual plan and $14,300 for a family plan.
Knowing the basics of health insurance can help you discern the scale of the out-of-pocket expenses you’ll incur over the course of your treatment.
Mesothelioma Asbestos Trust Funds
If you are able to prove that you were exposed to asbestos in a work setting or through a certain product, you may be eligible for compensation from a mesothelioma asbestos trust fund.
Asbestos Trust Funds were formed when companies associated with the mining, production or use of asbestos or asbestos-containing products were faced with lawsuits resulting from growing public concern about the mineral’s deadliness in the 20th century.
Asbestos Trust Funds Update
Unable to pay the settlements, the asbestos companies filed for bankruptcy, intending to hinder their liability via protections outlined in section 524 in chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. However, the companies were instructed to create these trust funds in order to pay the claims against them, as well as future ones.
Although many of those companies do not exist any longer, claimants can often still receive compensation from them—as long as they meet the required criteria. To determine your eligibility, we recommend speaking with a mesothelioma lawyer at your soonest convenience.
Other Forms of Legal Compensation
In addition to bankruptcy trust funds from asbestos companies, there are other funds that you may be legally entitled to. These include jury awards and veteran compensation:
- Settlements: Mesothelioma patients can sue asbestos companies that remained in business for personal injury. The vast majority of personal injury claims reach a negotiated settlement amount before going to trial.
- Jury Awards: Although most mesothelioma cases don’t make it to the courtroom, in some cases, when a settlement can’t be reached, a mesothelioma claim goes to trial. In these cases, if the defendant is determined to be liable, the jury can award compensatory and punitive damages.
- Veteran Compensation: Unfortunately, many veterans were exposed to asbestos on the job. Retired military personnel may qualify for VA benefits. Eligibility is dependant upon a variety of factors, including whether most of the asbestos exposure happened on active duty. However, a claims agent can help you better determine your eligibility and assist you in filing an effective claim.
Financial Assistance for Mesothelioma
Whether or not you qualify for legal compensation, insurance may not be enough to cover much of your treatment costs.
Some services offer assistance for cancer patients needing to pay for treatment:
- Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA)
- Patient Access Network (PAN Foundation)
Many organizations can help you save money or connect you with funding opportunities. From providing free transportation or discounts on housing when you need to travel for treatment to helping cover co-pay expenses, there are many ways these groups can help ease the financial burden of treating mesothelioma.
|American Cancer Society||www.cancer.org|
|National Cancer Institute||www.cancer.gov|
|Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition||www.cancerfac.org|
|American Society of Clinical Oncology||www.cancer.net|
|Pacific Meso Center||www.pacificmesocenter.org|
|Cancer Support Community||www.cancersupportcommunity.org/|
|Cancer Research Institute||www.cancerresearch.org|
|Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Inc.||www.curemeso.org|
|Cancer and Careers||www.cancerandcareers.org|
|Mesothelioma Prognosis Network||www.mesotheliomaprognosis.com|
Seeking Financial Help for Mesothelioma
With the right financial plan and the resources to help you accomplish it, you can get the mesothelioma treatment you need.
Every mesothelioma patient deserves the highest quality of treatment possible, without placing a financial strain on themselves or their family. Coping with an aggressive disease is stressful enough without the worry of insufficient money looming over you. That’s why it’s important to get the financial help you need as soon as you can.
Connect with any of the highly regarded resources above or contact Mesothelioma Help Now at (800) 584-4151 if you have any questions or concerns about financing your treatment.