While health insurance covers some of the cost of cancer care, there are costs not covered. It can be confusing to determine what health insurance will and will not cover. Understanding the costs you will incur is an important step in feeling empowered and more in control as you make important treatment decisions. Here, we identify treatment-related expenses that you may have if you have health insurance.
A deductible is an amount that the insured (the patient) must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company begins to pay health insurance claims. If you have a deductible, your deductible amount will usually be printed on your insurance card. You can also contact your health insurance company to find out your policy’s deductible. Deductibles are usually paid on an annual basis, so at the beginning of your plan year, your deductible will usually start over. Your insurance company will be able to tell you how much of the required annual deductible you have already paid during that year.
Many health insurance companies will now assign insurance case managers to insured individuals diagnosed with cancer. These trained individuals (often registered nurses or licensed social workers) will follow your case closely, helping to coordinate care and insurance benefits. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it may be wise to contact your insurance company to ask if they will assign you a case manager. The case manager should be able to answer questions about your coverage and possibly “shift benefits” to cover something that might not ordinarily be covered.