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Financial Resources for Patients Experiencing a Cancer Recurrence

Battling an advanced-stage illness is a difficult economic experience.

We plan ahead for many of our big financial decisions. We save up for a down payment on a home, or open a special savings account for college tuition. However, few people anticipate a cancer diagnosis – and even fewer plan ahead for it financially. The surprise, coupled with the high out-of-pocket costs for treatment, can make for a significant financial burden.

“Almost one-third of cancer survivors experience financial hardships as a result of their diagnosis and/or treatment,” reports the American Cancer Society.

There’s even a phrase for this hardship: financial toxicity. “Financial toxicity describes problems a cancer patient has related to the cost of treatment,” explains the National Cancer Institute.

It’s little surprise, then, that people facing a cancer recurrence often experience an even greater sense of financial stress. Some may still be paying for the previous course of treatment when the disease returns for a second or third time.

Despite the financial hardship that a cancer recurrence presents, there are resources that patients can take advantage of in order to mitigate financial toxicity:

Speak with your healthcare providers

Meeting face-to-face with your hospital, or other facilities providing treatment, to explain your situation can go a long way, says the American Cancer Society. “Ask the doctor or facility if they can give you the same discounts that they give Medicare (or even major health insurance companies) so that you can pay the bill,” the organization advises. “You might also ask if you can work out a payment plan to give you time to pay the bill.”

The breast cancer nonprofit, Susan G. Komen, offers similar advice. “Most hospitals and treatment centers have financial counselors,” the organization writes. “Financial counselors can help you work out a payment plan.”  

Tap into a national service organization

“There are several national and local service organizations that assist people with cancer who are facing financial challenges,” explains Cancer.net. The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition, for example, provides support for medical supplies, co-pays, transportation, and more. Another organization, the Healthwell Foundation, assists underinsured patients in covering treatment costs.

Leverage your life insurance policy.

Many people don’t know that their life insurance policy can be a flexible resource. Fifth Season Financial’s Funds For Living Program offers a viable solution to combat financial strain for those living with cancer and other late-stage illnesses.

Unlike a viatical settlement, the Funds For Living program allows clients to secure an advancement on their own life insurance policy and still leave funds for their beneficiaries. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent – many choose to cover bills or other medical expenses, while others take memory-making vacations with family. The individual’s life insurance policy remains intact throughout the entire process, and Fifth Season Financial handles all future premium payments. Facing a cancer recurrence, and paying for treatment, can be daunting. The ultimate goal of our Funds For Living Program is to help relieve financial stress so that clients can focus on their health and quality of life. To learn more about the program, contact us today.

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