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glasus's picture
glasus
Posts: 34
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi, I am new here, but my wife has been in for treatment for stage 1v lung cancer. She was given a complete response to treatment, but now it has moved to her bone and they are doing radiation.The Dr says he expects that this will stop it in it's tracks.
Up until now we have had insurance and we continue to pay for it thru the cobra act, as soon as that happened the charges skyrocketed. I thought it was because of the rising cost of health care, but it a strange coincedence. So after seeing this, I contacted the social worker at the clinic. She said she could help but immediatly wanted to conduct a wallet biopsy. Good grief what does last years income have to do with now? We are getting SS disability and drawing from her retirement, minus $1200.00 a month for insurance, then minus the other usuals,pills,gas,house,heat, water,etc. My question does anybody have any ideas on where to talk with somebody before our ships sinks. I don't want to talk to my wife about this, she has enough to deal with. Thanks to any or all who respond.

green50
Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

on cobra the work place is going to or should be paying 65 percent for a little while but not real sure how it works I am on disability and have medicaid will have medicare next year after the two year wait. It was passed that work place had to cover the big percent of cobra, I went thru finance consultant at the cancer center and they got me some help I have a big spend down on medicaid so I pay my ten dollars a month and thats that medicaid pays anything over the 700. But I would see if the financial consultant at your cancer center or dr can get you a grant from somewhere to help. They just need what is made and what you pay out. Good luck.
Prayers and Hugs
Sandy

green50
Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

Also there are organizations the drs office or cancer center may Know of that donates money also to help cancer patients. some churches will help with utilities. HOpe this helps some
again Prayers and hugs
Sandy

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

This is one time where I was really lost. I have been in your shoes when everything seemed stacked against me. We can handle love, caring and support but the financial issues are hard. 9 months into my cancer I had to pay $1500 a month for insurance. My Long term disability check was $2200. That didn't leave much for paying bills and feeding my three children. I survived by refinancing my home and having my wife work as much as possible. We had garage sales that actually cleaned out a bunch of stuff we didnt need. Some doctors handed me sample drugs so I didn't have to purchase them. Co-workers had benefits which helped with travel expenses. If you have family in your area willing to help bake sales, speghetti dinners ect can be done with the help of churches. Most of the stores where I live have coffee cans on the counter with pictures of cancer patients on them. Going directly to the utility company offices and talking to a manager might buy you some time. I believe its always better face to face if possible and being honest and open helps. Most people have had someone in their lives that have delt with cancer and all its problems. Your not alone here and I hope others here have more ideas. Your in my prayers. Slickwilly

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

COBRA rules for payment and extensions have changed since the passage of the Stimulus Package, check out this website to see if it responds to your situation.
______________________________________________________________________________

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_cobra.HTML

"I have heard about the new COBRA extension and subsidy that was contained in the Stimulus package signed by the President. I would like more information.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded eligibility for COBRA and provides a premium reduction to certain qualified individuals.

Individuals eligible for COBRA coverage who were involuntarily terminated by their employer on or after September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009 who are eligible for COBRA and elect COBRA may be eligible to pay a reduced premium amount that is only 35% of the premium costs for your COBRA coverage.

If you were terminated during that period and were covered by your employer�s plan on your last day of employment, your plan administrator should provide you a notice of your eligibility to elect COBRA and to receive a premium reduction. You may also want to contact your employer directly to ask about getting the premium reduction.

If you have specific questions about your situation and how these new rules apply to you, you may wish to speak with one of our Benefits Advisors by calling 1.866.444.3272. You should also check the Employee Benefits Security Administration�s dedicated Web page at www.dol.gov/COBRA. This Web page will contain helpful information and will be updated regularly to include FAQs and new information related to the process you should follow to apply for COBRA and/or the premium reduction.

How can I apply for the COBRA premium subsidy?
Individuals eligible for COBRA coverage who were involuntarily terminated by their employer on or after September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009 who are eligible for COBRA and elect COBRA may be eligible to pay a reduced premium amount that is only 35% of the premium costs for your COBRA coverage.

If you were terminated during that period and were covered by your employer�s plan on your last day of employment, your plan administrator should provide you a notice of your eligibility to elect COBRA and to receive a premium reduction. You may also want to contact your employer directly to ask about getting the premium reduction.

If you have specific questions about your situation and how these new rules apply to you, you may wish to speak with one of our Benefits Advisors by calling 1.866.444.3272. You should also check the Employee Benefits Security Administration�s dedicated Web page at www.dol.gov/COBRA. This Web page will contain helpful information and will be updated regularly to include FAQs and new information related to the process you should follow to apply for COBRA and/or the premium reduction."

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_cobra.HTML

Love, Courage, and Prayers!

Rick

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Support/financial-resources

This site is put up by the National Institute of Health or some such, and is government-supported. TereB has responded in other discussion areas with some excellent suggestions, and they may apply for you as well. I am taking the liberty of copying and pasting them as well:

Cancer Care, a non-profit org., offers free support and counseling for cancer patients by oncology social workers. They have face-to-face counseling and counceling on the phone. Support groups on the phone are available too and are moderated by an oncology social worker. Call 800-813-HOPE. They can also give you info about financial resources. Check their website: www.cancercare.org

Gilda's Club - www.gildasclub.org - they offer free social and emotional support. Not sure if they may have financial information but check it out just in case.

Live Strong - www.livestrong.org - offers one-on-one support.

American Cancer Society (here) can also give you financial, support, etc. information available in different cities.

angelsbaby's picture
angelsbaby
Posts: 1156
Joined: May 2008

Healthwell foundation they have grants for certain meds and things .

michelle

glasus's picture
glasus
Posts: 34
Joined: Mar 2009

I want to thank everyone for their response, I am in the process of having made many phone calls today and hopefully will get some forms in the mail. Having spent the entire nite in ER it has made for a long day, sorry for the whining. I read once if we all stood in a circle and threw our problems in a pile in the middle, we would reach in and grab ours back! I am going to seek someone to talk to, mainly cause I can't type that fast. But I will try to be online tomorrow nite for the chat room. Thanks again, Bless you all

Connie VS
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2009

I feel your concern. My husband has been diagnosed with cancer a second time in the last 2 years and we don't have the first time paid for yet. We have private insurance, but have to have the deductable so high so we can afford the premiums. What wer'e doing is making payments on the bills. They say that if you do that and don't ignore them, the people will work withyou. I hope so. Like You, I don't want to bother or burden my husband especially since he just started a hard type of chemo. He has rectal cancer with an iliostomy and now getting 3 different kinds of chemo for 6 months. I know!!!!!! Where do they expect the money to come from..Hang in there..

Cindy54's picture
Cindy54
Posts: 454
Joined: Aug 2006

I almost missed this post. On the COBRA one thing not too many people mention is that the reduction is premiums is deceiving. I will explain and maybe it is different for each state. But here in PA, I lost my job in October of 2008. Paid my employer sponsored premiums for 3 months. On January 1 they ended along with my insurance. I became eligible for COBRA, but could not afford the premiums...at the time they were $384. Then came the COBRA plan by the President. A great plan. But they raised the premium to $504 per month. Which with the 65% reduction would still be doable. But the catch is...I still would have to pay 2 months premium in advance..at the not reduced rate because the reduction was not in effect for those 2 months. I would also have to pay the current month at the reduced rate. So this has left me out. I can not come up with $1200. Had they let me do all 3 months at the reduced rate, I could have done it and continued with my insurance. Instead I went to charity care at the cancer center. I did not qualify for a medical card because the maximum income for a single person here is $205 per month. Yes, per month. My unemployment disqualified me. COBRA would be wonderful for all of us who lost our jobs and have the pre-existing conditions. But the insurance folks seem to have covered up their loss of any income with their rules for payment. Nothing can ever be easy where the insurance folks are concerned. Cindy

angelsbaby's picture
angelsbaby
Posts: 1156
Joined: May 2008

That is terrible, We still Have our health insurance but we had to sell alot of our belongings, Our savings is gone. You sure learn alot when someone is very ill. Good luck to you
michelle

glasus's picture
glasus
Posts: 34
Joined: Mar 2009

i wish i had good news to report but none so far, yes your correct they will work with setting up payment plans. Start talking to them before you get your first bill! Most of help organizations either will help pay for or assist in payment of meds.The oyhers want to know what was your income last year was!!!What does that have do with now,ss diability,retirement benefitsand ltdi. were too young for medicare or medicade. glad there is ice one on the lake yet so our boat doesn't sink yet

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

glasus,

Right now, the funding of health-care delivery is a major issue. President Obama and those legislators backing reform need the input of those "in the trenches" to demonstrate a compelling need for such reform. Nearly three decades ago, cancer patients, like me, suffered from the same discrimination in the workplace as AIDS patients experienced in the '80s. I joined other cancer patients in sharing our stories with the New York Congressman drafting legislation to outlaw such discrimination. Not only did I eventually receive a job, the Americans with Disabilities Act was enhanced years later to prohibit job discrimination against ANYONE with chronic illness.

Never underestimate your power to effect change. You are far from being alone on this issue. Don't be shy about sharing your story with your senator and member of the House of Representatives, and write President Obama while you're at it.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/

http://www.healthreform.gov/

"They may try to take our lives, but they will never take away our capacity to get really pissed off!"

Love, Courage, and Tenacity!

Rick

green50
Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

Thank you Rick for info. I will be going to those sites. I have medicaid and will have medicare next year. My spend down is half of my disability so can not pay it. I give my drs 20 dollars a month and thats the best I can do. I am my only income. From what I can see between a friend of mine and me they leave us 600 dollars a month to live on after spend down. Medicaid does pay after the amount of spend down and I am lucky drs except their payment and what I can give them but still leaves a balance. I have been dealing thru my husband who passed away from cancer 4 years ago, I dealt with his Social security and my sons so I know how their system works and its a shame so many people struggle thru what they think has to be paid right away. Can't get blood out of a turnip and yes I know some suffer with drs who are just there. But again I have good Drs and am lucky. But I will go to those sites. Again thanks Rick.
Prayers and Hugs as always
Sandy

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