Coping with Cancer’s Financial Aftermath Summarization

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Installment # 3 of:   Coping with Cancer’s financial aftermath article  highlights summarized:

1.  Predicting problems, strategizing solutions – patients worried about financial strain when initially diagnosed,  should raise their
concern early in their treatment.  Asking the doctor if someone on the clinical team to walk them through what bills they should
anticipate, as well as an availability of financial resource entities is beneficial.
2.  Patients do better and regain some sense of control if they are able to harness  a proactive problem-solving approach and be
able to generate solutions to address financial concerns.
3.  Several aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may affect the cost of cancer care in the long run, as the law did not go far
enough, as the true costs of actual care delivery were never specifically addressed;  many feel that insurance companies needed to provide more coverage for cancer surveillance.  Cancer care data were not included in a recently released report by Medicare and Medicaid Services on what different hospitals charge for certain services.  Therefore, a cost comparison for cancer care is difficult to establish.
4.  The financial ripple effects can linger long after treatment ends.  A 2012 study found that of the 23% of patients with medical
debt, the average accrued debt for cancer care was $25,860.  The vast majority of patients reporting debt – 81% – were still carrying some of it more than a year after diagnosis.
5.  Financial strain cannot only erode patients’ well-being, but also their ability to fight cancer, according to a study published in The Oncologist in 2013. 57% of patients who did discuss costs with their medical care team said the conversation led to a decrease
 in expenses.
On a different note …
6.  Going back to work: A different topic but one that sometimes can cause angst for a patient returning to work:  A licensed clinical
psychologist practicing near Denver suggests the following when patients are worried about how much to reveal to co-workers,
how much information to keep private,  and how many times can the same questions be responded to . . . the advice:   to
develop a short script before that first day back to work-  one that is courteous, but does not invite further questioning. If a
conversation starts turning awkward,  perhaps it may be possible to turn it into a more pleasant discussion about common
work/project goals and expressing  “All of the support I have received has meant so much to me . . . and I’m glad I to be back.”
Again, if you have questions that you would like to have answered from any of the highlights shared in these three installments,  please send them to me via email.
Thank you –
Annie

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