A cancer diagnosis is devastating. Not only does the patient have to go through the treatments, life changes and facing the disease itself, but the patient must also pay for it. It is estimated that 45 million Americans were without insurance as of 2012. Though getting treated without insurance is difficult, it is not impossible.
Those who have served as active duty members in the military may qualify for Veterans Administration health benefits. The amount and type of coverage received depends on discharge, disability, income and the type of services available in the patient's area. TRICARE, the health insurance used by the Department of Defense, is available for family members, survivors and retirees of the military. TRICARE does not discriminate against pre-existing conditions, including cancer.
National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
The NBCCEDP offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings to women throughout the United States. If diagnosed, they also offer financial assistance to help pay for breast and cervical cancer treatments if the patient is uninsured and under the age of 65. Though this program is offered through Medicaid, patients can still qualify even if denied for Medicaid coverage.
Hill-Burton Funded Clinics and Hospitals
Some hospitals and nonprofit facilities received their construction funds from the Hill-Burton government program. By doing so, these facilities offer low-cost services to those who do not have insurance. The Hill-Burton programs do have income and family size requirements and patients must receive their cancer treatments at a local Hill-Burton facility.
Low-Cost Generic Prescriptions
The cost of cancer treatment prescriptions can be devastating to any budget. Some drugstores and pharmacies offer discount programs and generic prescription refills at affordable prices. Generic options and prescription discount plans help offset the costs of essential medications.
Medicaid is a government funded insurance plan that covers a large majority of medical care. Income must be at a certain level to qualify and this varies depending on where patients live. According to the National Cancer Institute, the requirements for Medicaid may change in 2014 when the Affordable Health Care Act goes into effect.
Medicare is a federally funded insurance program in the United States. Patients 65 and over diagnosed with a debilitating disease, such as cancer, may qualify for Medicare. Medicare provides basic coverage, and patients still have out-of-pocket expenses that vary state-by-state.
Affordable Health Care Act of 2014
The Affordable Health Care Act goes into effect in 2014. At that time no one can be denied health insurance -- even if diagnosed and treated for cancer. The lifetime dollar limit associated with healthcare plans, something cancer patients easily surpass, is also lifted.
- Breast Cancer: Paying for Treatment Without Insurance
- Caring.com: How Can I Pay for Cancer Treatment With No Insurance?
- American Cancer Society: Health Insurance and Financial Assistance for the Cancer Patient
- Health Reform: Fighting Back Against Cancer: Health Insurance Reform & Cancer in America
- New York State Department of Health: What is the Cancer Services Program?
- HealthCare.gov: Key Features of the Affordable Health Care Act
Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.