Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Even with Insurance, People Fighting Cancer are also Fighting to Survive Financially

The rising cost of health care has left many Americans either without insurance or with limited insurance coverage. This is especially a problem for the 11 million Americans currently fighting cancer, whose main concern should be fighting the disease, not figuring out how to pay for treatment.

Cancer affects so many Americans. Nearly one out of every two Americans born today will be diagnosed with a form of cancer at some point in their life. Without health care reform, even those individuals with insurance will struggle financially to pay for their life saving treatments.
  • 41 percent of non-elderly adults have either accumulated medical debt or had difficulty paying medical bills – 61 percent of those individuals had insurance
  • 25 percent of individuals with cancer report using all or most of their savings as a result of the cost of treating their cancer – 22 percent of those with insurance report the same
  • 5 percent of cancer patients with insurance report delaying treatment or deciding not to get care because of the cost
  • 10 percent of cancer patients reached the benefit limit in their insurance policy and were forced to seek alternative insurance or pay for the remainder of their treatment out-of-pocket
Devastatingly high out-of-pocket expenses along with annual and lifetime benefit caps lead even the insured to incredibly high bills and potential financial ruin. Often individuals with cancer seeking to purchase insurance coverage are charged higher premiums, have coverage excluded for certain conditions, and may even be denied coverage all together. Individuals are then forced to make decisions based on their finances, not their health.

Health care reform seeks to remedy these problems by making health care affordable, putting caps on out-of-pocket expenses, eliminating benefit limits, and promoting preventive and high quality care. Preventive care will not only save individuals and insurance companies money it will also save lives by catching any signs of cancer in the early stages.

Information provided is according to reports released by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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