Tips to Managing Health Insurance With Blood Cancer

I used to think that all insurance plans were the same. One size fits all. Just hand them your card, and you will magically have all you need covered! 

Once I was diagnosed with blood cancer, I discovered that nothing could be further from the truth! It is so important to know what your plan offers, covers, and requires of you. Research the healthcare system in your state. Every state is different!


This should be simple, right? I promise that it isn't. You will need to take time to find out what your state or area covers.

I live in South Carolina. I found out that my state only covered breast cancer and cervical cancer under Medicaid. How unreal is that? And before they even considered covering that, they needed a pathology report from the oncologist. This can take a lot of time and several calls to accomplish.

Health insurance

My first two years were a time of hard lessons and ridiculous amounts of money spent. Once you are diagnosed, I strongly urge you to check your current plan and read all the important details that are about to apply to your life. I sincerely wish I did! I purchased insurance, but I had a plan that wasn't going to be for me. It was so many restrictions on tests, doctors of choice, and even the hospitals in my area.

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Important questions to ask:

Doctors: Will all your doctors be covered, or will you need to look for someone new?

Co-Pays: What are the co-pays on all medications? What are the copays for doctor and hospital visits? What hospitals are in and out of your network? (This is important especially if you need to go to the ER. (Make sure you are at the hospital in your plan in case you are admitted.)

Tests and Services: What tests and services are covered, and for how much (such as MRI, PetScans, any treatments)? I had a plan that only covered ONE MRI per year, but due to my degenerative spine, hip, and needs due to additional cancer, I need them multiple times a year. Let me tell you, they are not cheap! What surgeries and procedures are covered, and for what? Carefully read the terms of all hospital services. This includes ER, observation admittance, and in-hospital admittance. Trust me, these matter!

Additional Services/Procedures: What additional medical services are covered, such as physical therapy or mental health? Yes, most of us have sat on that couch at some point, and it's very much needed.

Home Health Services: Are any home health services covered, and in what terms? What medical supplies will you need?

Look for financial assistance through charities

There is a lot of financial assistance available through various charities and governmental assistance in most states. Take the time to find out what is available in your city/region and then what is available in your state. You will be surprised at how much help is available.

Ask every question

Always ask questions! I know those insurance packets can be a major headache. Don't feel bad about making the necessary calls to get the information and answers that you need. Ask friends and family that may have been where you are now and find out what worked for them. There is no shame in asking! Be diligent until you get the services you will need.

Don't worry!

Regardless of this being the beginning of your journey or even months or years in, I know this can be a lot. In fact, it can be absolutely overwhelming. It's ok! Take your time to do what's best for you. I have been there and continue to go through it even after almost 9 years! We are all in this together, so remember to research, ask, and relax. I promise it's going to be okay.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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