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The connection between cancer and bankruptcy

As many Floridians already know, cancer is one of the most expensive medical conditions to treat in America. To add to this, over the years, the cost of treating cancer has only gone up. This was confirmed by Cancer.gov, which also pointed out that the cost of new and improved cancer treatments adds up in dollars and cents, sometimes as high as $10,000 per month.

What makes this situation even worse for patients is that insurance companies are now shifting more and more of the cost of care to them. Insurance companies manage to do this through raising premiums, copayment rates, coinsurance and deductibles. Because of this, even when insured, 33 percent of patients with insurance, ranging from ages 19 to 64, still rack up medical debt and struggle with paying medical bills.

Needless to say, coupled with other factors, the likelihood for debt and bankruptcy only increases. Here are some of the factors that may exacerbate the problem:

  •          Cancer patients may not be able to report to work, leading to a reduction in income or losing their job altogether.
  •          Being in no fit shape to work jeopardizes the continued payments from job-based insurance options.
  •          Even after cancer patients are able to return to work, the cost of ongoing medications and treatments continues to create a financial burden.

As the Chicago Tribune points out, the good news is that hospitals and cancer centers often come to their patients’ rescue. They do this by offering financial counselling, assisting with finding coupons and discounts for medication.

In addition to this, some hospitals do offer payment plans to allow the patient to chip away at their medical debt, one small payment at the time. While these steps certainly do not resolve the issue of higher bankruptcy filing rates for cancer patients, they do count as steps in the right direction.

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