This topic touches very close to home since my Dad passed away as a result of Mesothelioma Cancer. I was approched by a Mesothelioma group that wished to provide a guest Blog on our web site and I welcomed the chance to post the following Blog.
Good health insurance won't make a diagnosis of mesothelioma disappear, but it can help you focus on specialized treatment without an overwhelming financial worry.
Health insurance should make treatment affordable, giving a patient every chance to survive.
Mesothelioma is the rare and aggressive cancer caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos, which was used so extensively in America throughout the 20th century. There is often a latency period of 20-50 years between exposure and diagnosis of this disease.
Health insurance has become a complex, and even controversial topic today, but it also has become a necessity to offset the high costs of caring for a rare cancer that requires a personalized approach.
Health plans today vary greatly, yet most are designed to protect you against financial ruin if you are diagnosed with cancer. Insurance plans also should improve your life expectancy. For starters, most of the diagnostic testing and treatments should be covered by your plan.
Understand Your Individual Plan
The copays will vary and so will the deductible amounts, depending on the plan, but a good percentage of the major costs will be covered.
Mesothelioma, like many cancers, can be cost prohibitive without insurance for the average family.
For example, the most aggressive surgery for mesothelioma could cost more than $50,000 when everything is included. An eight-week cycle of chemotherapy could run $25,000-$30,000. A month of radiation will cost an estimated $2,000.
Most importantly, talk with your insurance carrier about a number of issues, including the possible need for pre-authorization for specialists, and the ability to see a doctor outside the network.
Seeing a mesothelioma specialist also is imperative with a rare cancer. It could make a world of difference because many medical professionals, and even some oncologists, rarely see it or treat it. Despite the usual grim prognosis you may receive locally, there are advanced, personalized therapies, some of them still in the clinical trial stage that specialists can deliver for you.
You may have to travel to find the right specialist, but the Patient Advocates at The Mesothelioma Center can help you throughout the process. There are elite mesothelioma programs in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Cleveland, Seattle and Los Angeles
Military veterans, who comprise a disproportionate number of mesothelioma patients, often will deal with the Veterans Administration (VA) Healthcare Plan. Although there are more than 150 VA hospitals around the country, only a few have specialists who can handle mesothelioma. Insist on a referral to see a specialist.
At the top of the VA list are thoracic surgeons Abraham Lebenthal at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Robert Cameron at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Both are renowned mesothelioma specialists.
There is public health insurance like Medicare and Medicaid, which are administered by your particular state, so they can vary. There are also private insurance companies that provide individual or group plans.
The Affordable Care Act (2014) made it easier for low-income people or families to have health insurance through government subsidies. It set minimum standards for cancer treatment, cancer screenings and follow-up care.
There may be hurdles in dealing with health insurance companies, but the Mesothelioma Center can guide you through complex health insurance or VA referral process. The Patient Advocates know who treats it the bes