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Financial Caring for Cancer



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Financial Burden of Cancer

A cancer diagnosis brings many concerns the least of which is the uncertainty of how much it will cost for therapies and treatments. Despite conventional care treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery being generally covered by traditional insurance, out-of-pocket costs do arise. Furthermore, conventional treatments often come with side effects some of which can persist long after initial treatments are done requiring families to be obligated to cover any costs on their own. Long-term side effects vary on many factors on the stage of cancer, treatments, and patient history but common ones include damage to organs from chemotherapy, risk of fractures, osteoporosis from radiation, or possible nerve damage or loss of function from surgery.

 

Alternative medicine is growing in popularity as more innovative therapies are being developed. These therapies generally are more personalized to patients and often result in fewer or less severe side effects versus conventional options. Because of the leading-edge nature of alternative therapies, traditional insurance has not yet caught up resulting in the need for patients and families to pay directly for the care they receive. Although payment for alternative therapies is priced efficiently, the out-of-pocket expense can be a challenge. To help cancer patients and their families better meet the financial burden that cancer may bring regardless of treatment decisions, Dayspring Cancer Clinic has outlined the following considerations.

 

Home Equity Options

One of the biggest areas of funding that people can potentially draw from is their home. As of the beginning of 2024 according to an ICE’s Mortgage Monitor report, the average equity a homeowner holds is about $299,000. The challenge most have is being able to tap into that equity. However, there are three main ways to access your home equity which include a cash-out refinance, a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or a home equity loan.

 

1.     In a cash-out refinance, needed cash is taken out and a new mortgage adjusts for this and replaces the existing mortgage.

2.     In a HELOC, a line of credit is given based on the equity of the home and it works like a credit card based on an interest rate. HELOCs usually require maintaining a 20% equity level.

3.     A home equity loan is a second mortgage that allows one to borrow against the equity of the home. With all three of these options, it’s important to speak to your bank or mortgage lender to understand the various guidelines.

4.     A reverse mortgage is a type of home loan that enables those 62+ to receive money from the lender that is taken out of the equity of their home. The payments are tax-free and the loan must be repaid upon death of the homeowner or when they sell or move.

 

Again, it’s important to understand from your mortgage lender the options and implications before determining how to best use your home equity.

 

Personal Savings/Loans

Funding can come from personal sources such as savings or perhaps taking out a loan. When considering the loan option, it’s important to be aware of interest rates and terms. Some credit cards for example offer 0% to low-interest rates but it’s important to understand for how long or if those rates jump up after a certain period.

 

Other companies specialize in providing loans for health care. A medical loan is an unsecured loan utilized for medical care. It can be used to help pay for the high deductibles of an insurance plan or for a procedure that may not be covered by insurance. According to Nerd Wallet, here is a list of the 5 best medical loan companies for 2024. Again, with any loan, it is important to make sure you understand the terms, especially interest rates.

 

Community Resources

Cancer has a broad impact on many families that touch the community. That is why there are community resources available including religious and charitable organizations. The support can be direct financial assistance but most often provides support services that alleviate the overall financial burden by assisting with lodging, counseling and support, transportation, wellness programs, home care, and meal delivery programs to list a few. Here is a link that provides a start to identifying various cancer resources.

 

Crowdfunding and Fundraising

Another way to fund cancer therapies is to start a fundraiser or crowdfunding (raising money from a group of people over the Internet). One of the simplest ways to start crowdfunding for cancer care is to do a campaign on GoFundMe. With a story about your loved one, a photo, and the financial need, a project can get started. A more traditional fundraiser can entail selling items like baked goods, candy, and even lemonade to collect donations for the cause. Whatever is decided, it’s important to get the word out making as many people as possible aware of the help needed.

 

Health Insurance

Even though many health insurance plans do not traditionally cover alternative therapies, some do. It’s still worthwhile and important to check especially if the treatment has been recommended as the only viable option. Moreover, other resources can help advocate for you to get the maximum benefit from your insurance provider. A healthcare biller serves, for a percentage, as an intermediary for a patient to secure benefits from an insurance company. One partner we’ve recommended to patients is Medical Bill Gurus.

 

Keep Going

The key to meeting the financial costs of your cancer therapies is to press forward in exploring the many options out there. The financial burden of cancer is real regardless of the treatment route one can take. However, there are also many viable options out there for patients and families to explore that can be just the solution they need to access the best therapies possible. To find out more about your options, talk to Dr. Andrew Dickens, a leading expert in alternative medicine therapies at all stages and types of cancers by calling 480-699-7400 or schedule a consultation at https://www.dayspringcancerclinic.com/contact.

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