11 Ways to Lower the Cost of Metastatic Breast Cancer Care

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Set up a payment plan. Ask your doctor if you can set up a payment plan that allows you to pay a smaller amount each month rather than the full amount after each visit.

Find out about groups offering financial help. Ask your doctor or nurse for referrals to local government agencies and nonprofit groups that offer financial assistance for medical care.

Ask your doctor if you can take generic medicines. Generic medicines are usually less expensive than brand name medicines.

Ask for just part of a prescription. If you’re trying a new medication, ask your doctor if your first prescription can be for a smaller amount than would normally be prescribed. This way, you can make sure that the medication works for you before paying for a full supply.

Know what your health insurance plan covers. Make sure you have an up-to-date copy of your plan’s basic information, and confirm that any specialists you see are participating in your plan. You can also ask your insurance company to assign you a case manager so you talk to the same person each time you call. If your insurance company denies a claim, your case manager can tell you whether you can file an appeal.

Know your short-term disability plan. If you have short-term disability insurance, find out exactly what the benefits are. In some states, laws require that most employers provide short-term disability benefits for up to 26 weeks.

Understand your long-term disability coverage. If you have long-term disability insurance, you may have to use up all your short-term disability benefits before you can qualify. Talk to your human resources representative and find out if you’re covered, what is covered, and how long you can receive payments.

Learn about patient access programs for medications. Many pharmaceutical companies have programs to help people get the medicine they need at a reduced cost or no cost. If you search the Internet for the medicine you’ve been prescribed, you can find the pharmaceutical company’s medicine website, which usually has links to financial assistance programs.

Consider enrolling in a clinical trial. There are a number of clinical trials looking at new treatments for metastatic breast cancer. Ask your doctor if you’re eligible for any trials. In many cases, you don’t have to pay for the medicine and care you get as part of the trial.

Talk to a social worker about daily living costs. If you need help paying for daily living expenses such as food, transportation, child care, utility bills, rent, or mortgage, talk to a social worker at your hospital. This person can refer you to local agencies and nonprofit groups that may be able to help.

Reach out to local organizations. You also may want to contact your local United Way or American Cancer Society office. Both groups may be able to direct you to financial assistance. Many local religious groups and fraternal orders have volunteers who can help with transportation or grocery shopping.

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