Patients With Cancer Also Suffer From the Financial Burden of Their Treatments
PHOENIX, ARIZONA — May 22, 2018
Josephine Rizo survived chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, but treatment for breast cancer destroyed her finances.
Money was already a problem when doctors in Phoenix told Rizo that he had an aggressive form of cancer. She suffered a salary reduction upon entering medical leave and eventually lost her job and her insurance coverage. During the treatment he accumulated more than $ 50,000 in medical expenses.
"My concern was: 'Am I going to die?'" He said. "I had to focus 100% on my health to make sure I was with my children."
With the considerable increase in costs and the reduction of insurance coverage, hospitals and patient advocates in the United States are trying to offer more help to patients like Rizo, who did not have financial advice. Cancer centers are hiring experts to help patients understand the insurance system, while nonprofits teach people to think about managing costs when treatment starts instead of waiting for treatment. the crisis of your finances.
Cancer has long been a costly treatment disease, but several factors have worsened the financial burden in recent years, causing many patients to defer treatment and reduce the number of medications.
Insurers are reducing their prescription drug coverage and raising costs for patients, such as deductibles, which raises the prices of treatments. That means patients may have to pay several thousand dollars a year for drugs like Gleevec leukemia treatment, a daily pill, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
The health law enacted during the Barack Obama government sets limits on how much a person has to spend on medical treatment in a year. But cancer treatments often extend beyond the year and those limits do not apply to treatments received outside of the increasingly narrow network of doctors and hospitals offered by some insurances.
Costs for patients can also increase because new cancer treatments are more tolerable, so people can keep them for longer, said Dr. Yousuf Zafar, an oncologist at the Duke Cancer Institute who studies financial pressures.
One study concluded that the incidence of bankruptcy is higher among cancer patients than in people who do not have the disease.