When faced with a cancer diagnosis, most people immediately jump into a “whatever-it-takes” thought process. It becomes imperative to find the best doctor, the best treatment protocol, the best hospital, with no thought to what it will cost: After all – it’s only money, right?
Unfortunately, soon after the process actually begins and the cancer bills start rolling in, reality sets in too. While it’s easy to reach into your wallet to pay a $25 or $35 copay for a doctor’s visit or $10 co-pay for a prescription, paying for cancer treatment is an entirely different thing. Bills quickly climb into the thousands, and can easily exceed what families have available in immediate cash.
One of the first things that people tend to do in these situations is to pay with their credit cards, but doing so can be a very big mistake. Credit cards are simply a way of playing “kick the can”, pushing your payments off into an uncertain future and adding to costs by accruing high interest rates. Many families end up facing bankruptcy after innocently accumulating medical debt on their credit cards.
4 Reasons Not To Fund Cancer Treatment With Credit Cards:
- Credit cards are subject to high interest, making repayment more expensive and time-consuming than necessary if you are unable to pay your bills off immediately.
- Credit card companies will report non-payment to credit bureaus, which hospitals and medical providers rarely do. Putting medical bills that you can’t pay off immediately onto your credit card can damage your ability to borrow money in the future.
- There are better financing alternatives available. Doctors’ offices and hospitals will often offer payment plans over time without charging interest and without calling collection agencies or reporting you to a credit bureau.
- There are other sources of money available, including taking out a life insurance loan. You can also seek assistance from local and national organizations and charities.
Though medical bills can be overwhelming, they are not worth the strain that they will put on your credit, or the aggravation that they will cause you as the rapidly mounting amounts arrive in your mailbox each month. It is better to keep them for the same expenses that you have been using them before, and instead seek alternatives for how to pay for cancer treatments. Fortunately, there are a number of resources and methods available to help reduce or manage cancer costs.
Here are 3 Options for Paying for Cancer Treatments:
- Negotiate with your providers. Whether a bill is coming from a diagnostic site such as a radiology group or laboratory or the hospital where you received treatment, many facilities are open to negotiating their expenses in the face of need. Even if they can’t reduce your costs, many will be happy to set up a payment plan without charging interest or charging you a penalty, and doing so also offers the advantage of not being reported to credit bureaus. Just make sure that after you negotiate a plan, you get it in writing that they are allowing you to pay in this way.
- Look into charitable foundations. Many hospitals have charitable foundations that are specifically set up to assist patients facing medical bills. You may need to do a bit of digging to reach the correct contact, but the facility’s social worker should be able to point you in the right direction. There is no need to hesitate before asking for this help. These funds have been set up specifically to address needs like yours, and the people who are working for these foundations are there to assist you.
- Investigate the availability of a life insurance loan. Companies such as Fifth Season Financial provide the ability to get cash now from your life insurance policy very quickly, without extensive paperwork or restrictions on what you do with the money. They assume the payments for your life insurance policy, thus reducing your expenses, and any funds remaining on your policy will still go to your beneficiaries.
There are a number of very good options available to help cancer patients avoid getting into insurmountable debt. Make sure that you do your research and take advantage of the help that is out there.