Many of my clients who have created their Survivorship Plans with me waited until there was some pressing health issue that was spurring them into planning for the inevitable. Unfortunately, there have been a number of them that have waited until some crisis was around the corner. Last week, I learned about a client/friend who was in my very first Survivorship Planning workshop who is now facing a serious cancer. She did the planning prior to her illness and it helped her formulate and answer some of the critical questions as she updates her plan and legal documents – all steps you do when your are facing the unwieldy animal we call cancer. As she navigates the course of treatment, a very nasty loophole in her insurance policy, has surfaced. I thought my readers would want to know this – check your policy for Out-Patient Services limits. My friend was told by the facility where she is getting her treatment that her insurance approved both her radiation and chemotherapy treatments and she is now in month 2.5 and she has just started receiving her EOBs (explanation of benefits) from her insurance company. The shock is that the radiation and chemo treatments are billed under OUT-PATIENT SERVICES which have an annual limit of $5000. Now she is incurring about $5000 per infusion and about $800 a day (times 5 per week) in radiation treatments. Add that up and her bill for “outpatient services” through February and she is looking at about a $150,000 in medical bills. TALK ABOUT ADDED STRESS!!!!!!! Come to find out, this is a common loophole for insurance companies to avoid paying for cancer treatments and you have no idea until it is too late. Become educated on your policy now! I looked at mine and I have the same lousy insurance so I will be shopping it this week.
The good thing we did discover is the unbelievable resources we have here in Austin. Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG organization has a Cancer Navigation Center that is a free service to all their clients. I went with my friend to her initial visit there and met with some of their counselors to learn about their resources. Not only do they offer yoga classes, health classes, nutrition information, one-on-one counseling support, they have a patient advocate that helps people deal with insurance companies, bills and resources to help you through. They have an unbelievable amount of services and it is available for you when you are facing this life threatening disease. My advice to you:
- Work on your Survivorship Plan now! Before an illness becomes your reality.
- If you are facing cancer, contact the Livestrong Foundation first and get very familiar with what they have to offer. (Cancer Navigation Center) At first you may think you don’t need services, but as you go through the treatments, you will find they offer so much you will need.
Educate yourself and take action…………….