Insurance Matters

Whether you are the primary insured or on another person’s insurance policy, talk to your insurance company about any concerns that you may have. Many companies will assign a case manager to help you clarify benefits and suggest ways to get other health services. You can also ask for help from an insurance broker or from the human resources staff at your workplace. CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers can also help you navigate the world of insurance policies and paperwork.

COBRA. If you recently left a job and were covered by an employer’s health insurance, you may be eligible to continue receiving insurance coverage under COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA requires employers to make health insurance under their plan available to former employees up to 18 months after employment has ended. For more information, visit the website for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Disputing a claim. If you feel you have been denied a claim even though you are entitled to coverage, HealthCare.gov has a helpful guide on how to dispute claims with your insurer, along with other helpful information. Also, consider arranging a meeting with someone from the hospital’s financial office or billing department. You may be able to work out a monthly payment plan or get a reduced rate.

Some centers that provide reduced-cost health care, such as Hill-Burton facilities, administer care for free or on a sliding scale based on your income. These facilities are available in most states. To find a Hill-Burton facility near you, call 800-638-0742 or visit the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Uninsured young adults may also be eligible to receive financial help for medical expenses through Medicaid. Read CancerCare’s fact sheet titled “Coping with Cancer When You’re Uninsured” for more information.