A mesothelioma diagnosis can lead to financial stress. Even if you have good insurance, there will be deductibles and copays, in addition to hidden costs of mesothelioma healthcare. Fortunately, there are resources that may help you to reduce your mesothelioma medical expenses.
Mesothelioma Medical Expenses: What to Expect
The medical expenses associated with mesothelioma treatment are high. Not surprisingly, mesothelioma surgeries cost many thousands of dollars. Chemotherapy bills can reach into the tens of thousands, depending on how many treatments you receive. Radiation is sometimes even more expensive.
If you have private health insurance or are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, most of these large bills will be covered. You will likely still have out of pocket expenses for copays and deductibles. Medicare Parts A, B, and D all have annual deductibles. In addition, Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient chemotherapy and radiation treatments, requires a 20% copay after you satisfy the deductible ($183per year in 2017). Since outpatient treatments sometimes run as high as $50,000 or more, this could mean a co-pay of up to $10,000 under Medicare Part B.
Some of the most promising mesothelioma treatments, such as new immunotherapy drugs, may be considered experimental and not covered by your insurance. Be sure and ask your doctor about insurance coverage for your recommended treatments, so you know what to expect.
The price tag shouldn’t keep you from receiving the mesothelioma treatments you need. If you plan ahead and understand the medical expenses you are likely to incur, there are a number of ways to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Uncovered and Unexpected Mesothelioma Medical Expenses
When you think of the medical expenses associated with mesothelioma care, you probably think of doctor visits, hospital stays, lab tests, and outpatient treatments. However, mesothelioma costs may strain your budget in other ways that aren’t so obvious.
Because mesothelioma is rare, there may not be a treatment center with mesothelioma specialists near where you live. You may have to travel for some of your care, which can lead to charges for airfare or other transportation, hotels, and meals out. If you travel with a spouse or another caregiver, these expenses will double.
One of the biggest financial hits for families dealing with mesothelioma can be lost wages. If you or your caregiver must stop work because of your illness, your family’s income can shrink at the moment you need it most.
Help with Mesothelioma Medical Expenses
Your mesothelioma medical expenses don’t have to overwhelm you. There are several resources you can look to for assistance with the costs of your care.
One important way to reduce medical expenses is to make sure that your insurance covers as much of the cost as possible. If your insurer denies coverage or sends you a bill that you don’t think is yours to pay, it’s worth your time to contest the amounts. Insurance companies make mistakes. It’s up to you to catch them to make sure you’re not paying for any medical expenses that should be covered.
Affordable Care Act Coverage
If you don’t have health insurance, it’s not too late to get it. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you can’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, so you can still buy insurance after your mesothelioma diagnosis.
If you had to leave work because of your illness, you may qualify for subsidies under the ACA that lower your health insurance premiums. Even if you have to pay premiums that seem high to you, remember that the cost of your insurance will be much lower than the bills for your medical expenses.
When you enroll in a mesothelioma clinical trial, the costs of your care under the trial protocols will be completely covered. A clinical trial can be a good way to access cutting edge or experimental treatments that wouldn’t be covered by your insurance.
You will have to meet the criteria of the study to participate in a clinical trial. There are numerous mesothelioma clinical trials underway at any given time, however, so be persistent in your search if you want to be a part of a research study.
Ask your mesothelioma specialist about clinical trials that you might qualify for. Be aware that, if you enroll in a research study in a different city, you may incur travel expenses that aren’t covered by the study.
If you are a veteran and your mesothelioma is the result of asbestos exposure during your military service, you may qualify for special VA mesothelioma benefits. You may be able to use these benefits at the VA or at other treatment centers.
Even if your asbestos exposure was not linked to your time in the military, you may be able to qualify for regular VA benefits to offset your medical expenses. It can be helpful to work with a VA benefits specialist to help you prepare the necessary paperwork.
Asbestos Trust Funds and Legal Compensation
Mesothelioma is the result of negligent asbestos exposure. Thanks to the hard work of dedicated asbestos lawyers starting in the 1970s, courts are more likely to recognize that mesothelioma patients are entitled for compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In addition to VA funding to help veterans suffering the effects of asbestos exposure, there are several other ways to receive compensation for your injuries.
Dozens of corporations have created asbestos Trust Funds to pay for the negligence. If you worked with products manufactured by that corporation or you had that company’s products in your home – you are likely to be eligible for trust fund benefits.
You may also sue one or more corporations for compensation for their negligence. If your lawsuit is successful, the money you receive from a settlement or jury verdict should completely cover your medical expenses and lost wages.
Make sure you choose a reputable law firm, with vast asbestos mesothelioma litigation experience, to represent you. Top notch legal representation can make a difference of millions of dollars in the amount of compensation you receive.
You deserve to have the burden of your mesothelioma medical expenses lifted from you. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to reach out for legal help.