Diagnosed while Uninsured

MsEddie Member Posts: 9
edited March 2014 in Ovarian Cancer #1
This a copy of the response to Liz who posted her question in the "Mother-in'Law diagnosed with ovarian cancer" thread. Saundra suggested that a new thread might get more information for her.

Dear Liz,

I too was diagnosed when I was uninsured. The company I had worked for closed up, ending the insurance I had through them, and I was looking for a new job. I found out that the "social safety net" works for citizens who are completely destitute.

The hospital I was in had people called "patient advocates" who had information on all the various programs that are out there. At first, I was really too ill to cope with all the various application procedures, but my sister became my advocate and handled a lot of it for me. You can probably do the same for your mom. I was helped by a charitable foundation until I could get qualified for Medicaid. I don't know if immigrants are eligible for medicaid. It might depend on what State you are in. It helps if the patient does not own a house or sny other valuable assets (stocks, 401k, etc.) Those assets would get used up first before the patient becomes eligible for charities or Medicaid.

While looking around and applying for help, we got some very scary bills from the hospital. If this happens to you, don't panic. We called the billing office, told them what we were doing about the situation and arranged to make minimum payments until we could get into a suitable program. It took months to completely resolve the situation, but the hospital was very understanding and willing to work with us and the quality of care I received did not suffer at all.

The financial aspect of this disease can be almost as hard to survive as the medical aspects, but we are fighters and we can get through it with the help of our families and friends. I can't overstate the importance of calling the people who send you bills and explaining the situation to them. Doctors and hospitals have seen it all before and they will work with you if you keep the lines of communication open. I know how embarrassing it is to get to a place where you can't take care of yourself or your loved ones after a lifetime of independence, but I had to admit that this disease was more than I could handle by myself.

I'm sure there are others here who can share similar experiences and may have ideas that I didn't think of.

Best wishes to your mother and all of your family. You have what we used to call "a tough row to hoe" but there is help for you out there. It may just take a while to find it.



  • BonnieR
    BonnieR Member Posts: 1,526 Member
    Call ACS
    This disease is hard enough without worrying about insurance. Have you called ACS yet to see how they can help?

    Edwina is right the hospitals usually have a patient advocate that may be helpful too.

    Sending lots of prayers for everyone. Bonnie