Mesothelioma treatment costs can add to the stress of this deadly cancer. Even if you have good insurance, the costs associated with dealing with a serious illness can add up fast.
Stress can take its own toll on your health. You can reduce the strain of mesothelioma treatment costs by understanding what they are up front and by reaching out for help with the financial burden.
Mesothelioma Treatment Costs (Usually) Covered by Insurance
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that most commonly forms in the lining around the lungs, though it is also found in the linings of the abdomen, heart, and (very rarely) testicles. It is caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma takes a long time to develop after that initial exposure, so the average age at diagnosis is 69.
The good news for patients over 65 is that Medicare is likely to cover most of your mesothelioma treatment costs. For those with insurance other than Medicare, your policy is likely to cover the bulk of your mesothelioma healthcare costs.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that mesothelioma treatment costs can be extremely high. If your policy requires you to pay a percentage of the cost, that can add up quickly. The price of treatment can vary widely depending on the area of the country and the hospital where you are treated. Recommended mesothelioma treatments include:
- Mesothelioma surgery
- Mesothelioma chemotherapy
- Mesothelioma immunotherapy
- Mesothelioma radiation therapy
The costs of a course of immunotherapy alone can run $100,000. Total mesothelioma treatment costs can run much higher.
Fortunately, Medicare or your insurance policy should cover the bulk of these costs. Even if you are uninsured at the time of your mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be able to secure a health insurance policy to cover the majority of your mesothelioma treatment costs. If you are unable to work because of mesothelioma, you may become eligible for no-cost coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The portion of your medical bills that you will need to pay out of pocket depends on the type of coverage you have. Some medical insurance policies have an annual deductible. You pay all the costs until you meet that deductible amount; after that, your insurance will pay a percentage and you will pay the rest. To help understand the out of pocket costs, let’s assume your mesothelioma treatment costs are $100,000 in one year. If your policy has a $3,000 deductible and your insurance pays 80 percent of the costs above the deductible, you would pay $3,000 plus 20 percent of the next $97,000. Your total costs for one year of medical care: $22,400.
If your policy mandates a co-pay and no annual deductible, your costs may be lower. You will pay a set price for each service you receive. This can add up, with multiple doctor visits, prescription medications, treatments, and hospital stays. There are many different types of insurance policies; it is important to understand your insurance coverage, including what is covered and what you will be asked to pay.
One other caveat about insurance coverage: insurance companies might cover chemotherapy or immunotherapy drugs differently if they are administered in a pill instead of delivered intravenously in a medical facility. Be sure and check on the costs and your co-payment for the cancer drugs prescribed by your doctor.
Don’t be afraid to talk about money with your doctor. Make sure that any procedures that need to be pre-authorized have been cleared with your insurance company. The more you know about mesothelioma treatment costs upfront, the better you’ll be able to plan and prepare for them.
And if you still feel stressed, ask your doctor for a referral to a counselor. Your insurance should cover part of this expense as well.
Uninsured Mesothelioma Treatment Costs
In addition to the expected costs of medical treatments, mesothelioma patients often have additional costs to cover. Because this form of cancer is rare (about 3,000 people are diagnosed every year), your town or city might not have a mesothelioma specialist. You might need to travel to a medical facility that specializes in mesothelioma treatment. Your travel expenses could include hotel, meals, and airfare.
You might need to hire a caregiver to help with daily chores. You could seek out alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, or homeopathy. While these kinds of care can be important to mesothelioma patients, they are often not covered by insurance.
On top of these costs, you or a caregiver may need to leave work to deal with your illness. The loss of income can add to your family’s financial stress.
Help with Mesothelioma Treatment Costs
Finally, the good news: there are several resources that can help with your mesothelioma healthcare costs, whether covered by insurance or not.
If you served in the military, you may be eligible for VA benefits, even if you weren’t exposed to asbestos during your service (though many veterans were). You could be eligible for monthly VA benefits to help offset your increased healthcare costs and there are also VA healthcare benefits for vets who were exposed to asbestos during their time in the military. In addition, some VA hospitals have mesothelioma treatment centers and your benefits could entitle you to travel to those locations for specialized treatment.
Unlike many cancers, mesothelioma has a clear cause and responsible parties. The corporations who negligently continued to expose workers and others to asbestos dust long after they knew that it was toxic have a duty to pay for the harm they caused.
A number of the corporations that used asbestos have recognized this responsibility and set up asbestos trust funds to compensate mesothelioma patients and their families. You may be eligible to apply for money from one or more of these trust funds.
Even if the corporation that caused your mesothelioma doesn’t have a trust fund, you can still get payment to cover your mesothelioma healthcare costs, plus compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of income, and shortened life expectancy. Mesothelioma treatment costs don’t have to lead to financial ruin. A mesothelioma attorney can help you file a claim against these companies.
Kazan Law has helped mesothelioma patients access asbestos trust funds and win settlements and jury verdicts since the 1970s. Our clients have secured millions of dollars to cover their costs and ensure their financial health.
The benefit of working with a mesothelioma law firm doesn’t end after you win compensation. The first party in line for your settlement money will be your insurance provider, whether that’s Medicare or a private insurer. Your insurer will want to be reimbursed for the mesothelioma healthcare costs they paid. This can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. At Kazan Law, we negotiate with Medicare and other insurance providers to lower these costs, often reducing them by up to half. That means more resources for you and your family to cover your mesothelioma treatment costs.