The first question someone asks when faced with a cancer diagnosis is: “What are my chances of a recovery?” For many, troche the cost of treatment will become a concern, order second only to survival. According to the federal government, cialis cancer is one of the five most costly medical conditions in the United States, forcing many patients to make decisions about their health based on their personal finances.
While some individuals diagnosed with cancer have meaningful and adequate health insurance to cover most of the cost of treatment, the uninsured and an increasing number of privately insured individuals face the prospect of crippling out-of-pocket costs. Financial barriers that delay treatment for cancer can mean the difference between life and death.
Many cancer patients face high deductibles, co-payments and other cost-sharing requirements, often compelling them to make difficult decisions in order to make ends meet. According to an American Cancer Society report, a recent survey found that 25 percent of cancer patients reported using all or most of their savings as a result of the financial burden of treatment. Even among those with insurance, 22 percent reported using all or most of their savings. Five percent of insured cancer patients reported delaying their treatment or deciding not to get care because of cost.
Almost a third of cancer patients have out-of-pocket health care costs totaling 10 percent or more of their family income and roughly 1 in 9 cancer patients have costs that exceed 20 percent of family income. As a result of such high costs, 11 percent of individuals with cancer reported an inability to pay for food/necessities while paying for cancer treatment. Cancer is a physically and emotionally taxing disease for both patients and their families. Almost 20 percent of families experiencing cancer reported its impact led to someone in the household to lose a job, change jobs or work fewer hours. Any of these job changes could result in the loss of employer-sponsored insurance.
So, what can we do — how can Miles of Hope help?
In plain English, stress impedes recovery. Helping our Hudson Valley residents with financial emergencies while they are in treatment is fundamental to our mission. At Miles of Hope, the Medical Gap Care Fund helps people in treatment for breast cancer with a financial emergency. We step in and pay for rent, mortgage, heat, electricity, car payments, food, gas, transportation to and from treatment and, yes, insurance co-pays and medical treatment. If we can relieve some of the financial burden on a breast cancer patient, we can honestly say we have enhanced recuperation.
We work with five social service agencies for the eight counties we serve, to identify and process patients in treatment for breast cancer who need us. Often it will start with a phone call and a patient telling me they have just been diagnosed and they feel like they’ve been hit by a truck. I will recommend our Peer to Peer hotline, manned by trained survivors who are ready to give advice and assurance (1-800-532-4290). If they need financial counseling or assistance, I connect them with our partner social service agency assigned to the county in which they live — Dutchess County Community Action Partnership, Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center for Orange and Rockland, Family of Woodstock for Ulster and Greene, Putnam County CAP and Cancer Support Team in Westchester.
Funding the Medical Gap Care program, the Peer to Peer hotline, scholarships for college-bound high school seniors whose lives have been affected by breast cancer and complementary medicine programs constitute the lion’s share of our budget. Raising the quality of life of someone diagnosed or touched by this disease is what we try to do every day.
Cancer doesn’t just affect the patient, it affects the entire family and sometimes a whole neighborhood. At Miles of Hope, we recognize that to help the patient is essential, but to impact an entire community is even better.