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Who to see about spending down my retirement to pay for medications.

I am currently 80 days out from a SCT for AML FLT3. While my insurance covers most everything related to hospital, procedures and appointments, they only cover 50% of my medications. currently that means about $1000 out of pocket every month. Afer a biopsy in 2 weeks, my doctors want me to start maintanence therapy. They will not determine which one until that time but the cost of the 3 options range from $10,000 to $16,000 a month. I have about $125,000 dollars in retirement. I can get a couple months of discounts from the drug companies but after that I assume I will need to spend down that money. I need to know what I can spend money on prior to exhausting those funds as I assume eventually I will need to file bankruptcy in order to qualify for financial assistance. prior to all this, who is the best person to consult? Bankruptcy attorney, financial planner, or an accountant?

  1. Hi Welcome to the community!

    I'm actually not entirely sure what your options are, but I have a link here with resources that may be of help to you. There are a lot of different foundations listed here. Perhaps one of them has information about financial assistance. I hope this helps! Please keep us updated and let us know if we can help you with anything else!

    Warm wishes, Katelynn ( Team Member)

    1. For a number of years I was a Vice President of a software firm that developed retirement reporting programs for some of the nation's largest investment firms, insurance companies and banks. Due to my exposure to these firms I was able to develop an understanding of their policies and approaches.

      The general advice offered to company participants (401K clients ) was never tap your retirement funds if at all possible.

      Consider this ... the funds in a retirement account are earning some level of tax deferred income. Depending on your age there may be significant fees involved to if you withdraw early - which can reduce the actual withdrawal amounts.

      My free advice (worth every penny) would be - consider avoiding this road until you have some type of professional advice.

      Based on my personal experience :

      1)Speak with an attorney whose primary focus is retirement planning, elder law etc. Ask what the next steps should be given your financial situation, age and treatment needs.

      2) Meet with a personal financial planner - one who is bound by fiduciary responsibility when offering advice - ( not a stockbroker.) and discuss your concerns.

      3) ASAP ... Meet with the social services department at your hospital and explain your situation. They often have internal resources or can open up doors for you to apply for assistance from drug companies, foundations and more.

      A number of years ago my mother was in a situation similar to your own. The time I spent with an elder law attorney and the social services department of the hospital saved her signifiant sums of money and allow her to take advantage of treatment programs that appeared to be out of reach.

      Once you tap into your retirement funds - it is difficult to replace those funds and the compound interest that was earned over a period of years.

      Please keep us updated as you can.

      ... Dennis ( TEAM)

      1. I am sorry you are in this situation financially. I personally can relate. I trust you are able to find the information you need to make the most informed decision to assist you. My prayers to you on your journey of healing and recovery!

        ~Leya - Team Member~

        1. I hope you found the very valid questions you have when surviving cancer out of pocket, or close to it. I would suggest if you haven't already, speaking with your hospital or clinic social worker for additional guidance.

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