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Help paying medical bills

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2012

Hello all.
This is my first time posting anything on any site concerning my diagnosis. 2 months ago, I was blind sided with a diagnosis of breast cancer. I was right in the middle of a divorce. Since my diagnosis, I have had a bilateral mastectomy, started the initial stages of my breast reconstruction (expanders), had my Mediport put in, and will begin chemo next week. With all of that happening in what seems like a blur to me, I feel like I am just now coming out of a fog. I feel blessed that I do have decent health insurance . However, considering that I was virtually a picture of health before my diagnosis, I had a substantial deductible and co insurance that I was responsible for. I have a stack of medical bills now that I don't know how I'm going to pay. It's only about $2000 worth, and that may not seem like much to some people, but it's a lot to me because I don't have it to pay. Does anyone know of any financial assistance that is provided to assist with these types of expenses? Thanks in advance for your input.

taiga's picture
Posts: 76
Joined: Jul 2010

I contacted my hospital regarding the large balance due - they put me on a payment plan, no finance charge, and I make a minimal payment each month and will for a long, long time. But it also doesn't hurt to go in person and talk to someone about possibly reducing the amount you owe, if you could pay that reduced amount in full.

hope4thebest's picture
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Dee,
My name is Annie and I am pretty much in the same position as you. Diagnosed with breast cancer last year, had bilateral mastectomy and now am in the final stages of reconstruction. It has been very frustrating sorting through all the beaurocacy, but there is funding for you, especially because you are starting chemo, I didn't have to do that so far. Call the Patient Advocate Foundation 800-532-5374, they have a co-pay relief plan that might help: 866-512-3861.
Also Woman to Woman Breast Cancer foundation: 800-766-0135 they are in Florida.
There are more, if you have the energy to pursue it.
I was just trying to call them myself. I am not covered because reconstruction surgery doesn't qualify for cancer treatment, but you may due to your chemo.
Good Luck.

cathyp's picture
Posts: 365
Joined: Dec 2009

Check with the American Cancer Society. At one time, new patients were granted $300 to cover medical expenses such as copays, medication and travel. Their toll free number is probably on this web site. I echo the thought to about contacting your medical providers. All should offer payment plans.

Posts: 4376
Joined: Jun 2009

Start with the American Cancer Society. If they can't help you, I am sure they can guide you to other places to inquire into. What state are you in?

Good luck,


fauxma's picture
Posts: 3580
Joined: Dec 2008

I may be wrong but I thought that reconstruction is considered part of the mastectomy process in most states and is covered by insurance. Maybe you are in a state where it is not but check into this.
It is difficult enough to deal with the cancer, treatments and surgery and to have to wade through the beaurocracy puts it over the top.
Hoping that all of you with these issues get them worked out. I know many of the gals here will offer suggestions that might help.

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2012

Thank you, Everyone.
I will give these numbers a try and keep researching. If nothing else, I will try to get on a payment plan. It's just kind of hard right now because my budget was already tight. I still have all of my "normal" day to day expenses and my two children to take care of. But I know it will all work out. Thanks again for the info.
Dee Dee

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

Did you get some help Dee Dee? Most hospitals, clinics and cancer centers will let you make payments. And, see if they might have some money allotted for this. They get a lot of donations and perhaps you would qualify for one. Let us know!

Carol1018's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2012

I searched high and low for financial help, I fell in the middle I guess, had to go on a payment plan with my cancer center, the only money I got was $100 stipend for gas from the ACS and that was for a year...

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

I may not be right on this but I think about 5 or 10 years ago they passed a federal law that anyone with breast cancer has the right to have either reconstruction or a prostesis paid for by the insurance companies. It is a part of making you whole.

No one would expect that after getting in a horrible car accident that the insurance companies would be able to deny coverage for plastic surgery if the face was somehow involved in major injury. I think that the law was passed to make it impossible for the insurance companies to deny payment for reconstruction or a prostesis in the case of breast cancer. Just like no one gets in a car accident on purpose just to get plastic surgery, none of us gets breast cancer on purpose just for a new set of boobs or a prostesis. It is a part of being made whole so that we can look like every other woman on the face of the earth.

And by the way good luck with your other bills. I think you will find some help there too.

Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

Here is the link to the federal madate/law that requires insurance companies to pay for breast reconstruction/mastectomy bras/prosthetics after breast cancer surgery. In fact, reconstruction can be done after "just" a lumpectomy or to make the breast symectrical for examples.

Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

double post

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2012

Depending on what chemo you have you might be able to get some assistance from the drug company itself. I had to take Neulasta shots the day after my chemo, and I don't think this program was available, but my sister is currently in treatment, has the Neulasta, I think the drug company pays whatever her copay is and her insurance picks up the rest. You might check with your oncologist's office to see if other drug companies have similar plans. Also check with the hospital to see if there is a nurse navigator. Our hospital has one and I know she has found doctors that have offered financial aid. Good luck to you.

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