Any type of cancer can become incurable, and the longer it takes for a diagnosis, the greater the chance that the disease will have progressed beyond management. Hearing this type of diagnosis is numbing not only for the patient but their entire family.
Even those with health insurance may find the out-of-pocket expenses associated with managing a terminal illness difficult to handle. There are options, however, to help cover copayments, medical equipment, and comfort items. 1st & Main Investment Advisors presents the following guide to help you get started.
Personal savings. Personal savings is obviously an option. This is a delicate situation for those with limited assets as they face putting their family in dire financial straits because of their disease.
Loans. A personal loan is another option and one that may have less of an immediate impact on the family’s finances. The biggest drawback of a personal loan is that they typically come with interest rates higher than those requiring collateral such as a home equity line of credit. However, an unsecured loan will lower the chances of the surviving family members losing further assets if they are unable to immediately repay the money upon the patient’s death. If the cancer patient had life insurance, these funds may be used to satisfy the loan without negatively affecting the family. Ultimately, the type of loan chosen will come down to interest-rate.
Charitable organizations. Cancer patients may also be eligible for special financial assistance through public and private funds designated specifically for those diagnosed with certain types of cancer. Cancer Horizons lists several resources including the Max Cure Foundation, Angels of Hope, and Children’s Cancer Society among charities that provide assistance for pediatric patients and their families. Cancer patients considered low income may also be eligible for state-specific income assistance and federal government benefits such as help with rent and energy bill assistance.
Pre-paid funeral arrangements. A prepaid funeral plan can help you reduce the burden of this expense on your family members when they are at their most vulnerable. Prepaid funeral plans are essentially insurance plans provided by a specific funeral provider on a pre-need basis. Upon the patient’s death, benefits are paid to the funeral home or to their designated beneficiary. This, coupled with a specific outline of life celebration wishes, may alleviate emotional and financial strain on the surviving family members.
Creature comforts. Cancer is a painful disease that takes a toll on the mind and body; those suffering from leukemia or lymphoma, for example, may experience tiredness, fatigue, swelling, and bleeding, among many other symptoms. Many undergoing treatment find that little extra comforts such as warm fuzzy socks, books and movies provide a slight respite from the pain. There are many organizations that can offer these items and many more that can help tend to other desires. Fifth Season Financial has compiled this list of programs that offer everything from free yoga classes to hats and house cleaning services for people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Planning for the future
If a parent is also a cancer patient, his or her children are at risk of the disease. For this reason, the entire family may benefit from purchasing cancer insurance upon finding out of their family member’s diagnosis. Cancer insurance provides a lump sum payment to cover expenses incurred as a result of cancer treatment.
The cost of cancer can be as frightening as the disease itself. The ideas listed here can help reduce the burden on both the patient and their family. Individual needs may vary, and there may be other options available for financial relief based on age, income and the type of cancer diagnosed.