Cancer & Your Wallet: 3 Steps To Avoid Financial Ruin

A stethoscope sitting on a stack of money( — Several recent studies drive home the devastating impact cancer has not only on people’s health, but their finances as well.

One out of seven cancer patients spends more than 20% of his or her income on health-related costs, one study found. A second study, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, shows that bankruptcy rates among cancer survivors were almost twice as high one year after being diagnosed as compared with the general population.

Cancer treatment is expensive, and most people don’t realize that health insurance coverage is limited.You think you’re paying these high premiums for excellent coverage and then when you’re diagnosed with a serious condition like cancer with such expensive treatment — a 10% or 20% co-pay, if treatment costs $200,000 over a period of time, amounts to $20,000 that you have to pay out of pocket, at a minimum.

And financial troubles tend creep up, given the fact that upon being diagnosed with cancer, people have the understandable tendency to focus exclusively on their treatment and only consider the financial implications later. After someone has gotten through treatment then they turn their attention to their financial situation. They’ve already been through rather expensive treatment and then realize that the only way out of their financial predicament is bankruptcy.

Knowing Where to Turn