FAQ

How to pay for cancer treatment without insurance

Facing a cancer diagnosis without health insurance can be stressful. Feeling insecure and anxious is very common, but this shouldn’t stop you from seeking help. there are ways to get health insurance or find the resources you need.

five ways to get health insurance

1. jobs or union. If you or your spouse have a job that offers health insurance, ask if you can get or buy it. If you had insurance but lost your job in the last 60 days, ask if you are eligible for Cobra (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). this is a law that allows you to keep your insurance for 18 months, sometimes longer. you pay the full cost.

Reading: How to pay for cancer treatment without insurance

2. your college or university. If you’re a full-time or part-time student, check with your school to see if they offer insurance coverage.

3. Medicaid. Medicaid is a state-run health insurance program that provides free or low-cost plans to millions of Americans. In states that have “expanded” Medicaid, it covers all children and adults below 138% of the federal poverty level. in other states, it only covers low-income families with children, pregnant women, the blind or disabled. To see if your state has expanded Medicaid and to apply, visit www.healthcare.gov.

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4. medicare. If you’re 65 or older, or have been considered disabled by the social security administration for two years, you may be eligible for medicare. contact www.medicare.gov for more information.

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5. buy it on your own. You can buy insurance from an insurance company or through your state’s marketplace. if you buy it from an insurance company, you won’t be eligible for discounts based on your income. your state’s marketplace/exchange will look at your income and you may be able to get help. this may lower your plan cost, deductibles, or copays. To find your state’s marketplace, go to www.healthcare.gov. Please note: Whether from an insurance company or through the Marketplace, you can only purchase it during open enrollment.

Open enrollment occurs once a year, usually between November and January. There are a few other times you can buy insurance: If you lose your work-based plan in the middle of the year, get married, have a baby, move to another county or state, or become eligible for Medicaid. To learn more about special times when you can get insurance, visit www.healthcare.gov.

an oncology social worker can help

Remember, you don’t have to do this alone! Oncology social workers understand issues related to cancer. call 800-813-hope (4673) and speak with an oncology social worker who is a cancer care professional. they can help you explore your insurance options and find the best resources for you.

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5. buy it on your own. You can buy insurance directly through an insurance company or through your state’s marketplace/exchange. if you buy it directly through an insurance company, you will not be entitled to discounts based on your income. if you buy it through your state’s marketplace/exchange, your income will be considered and you may receive an immediate subsidy, which will lower the cost of your premiums and possibly also your deductibles and copays. To find your state’s marketplace, go to www.healthcare.gov. Please note: Whether you buy directly from an insurance company or through the Marketplace, you can only buy insurance during open enrollment.

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Open enrollment occurs once a year, usually between November and January. There are a few exceptions to this rule: If you lose your work-based coverage in the middle of the year, get married, have a baby, move to another county or state, or become eligible for Medicaid, you are eligible for a special enrollment period. For more information on special enrollment periods, visit www.healthcare.gov.

an oncology social worker can help

Remember, you don’t have to walk this path alone. Oncology social workers understand the complex issues that can arise with cancer. Call 800-813-hope (4673) and speak with an oncology social worker who is a cancer care professional who can help you explore your insurance options and find the right resources.

edited by sarah kelly, msw, lcsw-r

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