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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.



Even with the best health insurance, life after a diagnosis can be costly. Expenses rise. Income may decrease. The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the best techniques for paying for medical care and keeping your lifestyle.

To start to deal with finances, get a fix on where you are today and what expenses you are likely to encounter. Then see what would happen if your condition caused you to become disabled and unable to work. While you are working on the numbers, take some time to also see how your diagnosis will impact your life goals. If there is a shortfall, now is the time to take action. These calculations don't have to take a lot of time. Ballpark numbers will give you an overview. You can get more specifc later if you need to.

If you are experiencing a financial crunch or face one in the future, there are steps to take. 

  • Start with a budget which will show where your money goes and help you change course.
  • If necessary, learn how to prioritize your debts, and deal with creditors. If needed, no-cost-to-you nonprofits are available to help deal with creditors.
  • Bankruptcy is always an option. Bankruptcy is such a part of American life that it is included in the constitution.

Credit takes on new meaning because of your diagnosis. Do what you can to keep what you have, improve your credit score if possible, and get more credit. If you don't have credit, your diagnosis or a poor credit history does not prevent you from getting it.

Life has a way of throwing financial roadblocks, detours and potholes in our path. Building an emergency fund is tough when money is tight, but every dollar in reserve helps. When extra money is available, start building what we refer to as an Emergency+Fund.


  • If you are uninsured, read the document in "To Learn More" about paying for medical care.
  • Any discussion about money can bring up can bring up unwelcome feelings. Do not let them keep you from doing the necessary work. For information about dealing with emotions, see the documents in "To Learn More."
  • If you are taken advantage of financially, you may be able to get your money back (plus damages) if you are considered to be a "vulnerable" person because because of your health condition or because you are age 60 or over. For more information, click here

How To Do Basic Financial Planning


More information about this subject is contained in the Main Article in "To Learn More."

To Learn More

Main Topic

Financial Planning

Managing Your Money

The better you handle your money, the more likely you will have the means to pay for the care you need while maintaining your lifestyle.

You can still obtain health insurance and life insurance despite your diagnosis.

Check the rest of your insurance coverages such as automobile and renters or homeowners insurance to be sure you have what you need. An unexpected loss at this point in your life could be devastating -- including affecting your ability to access proper health care.

A budget helps prioritize your spending. A simple organized system for paying your bills, particularly medical bills, saves money and time. Help is available if you need it through friends or professionals known as Daily Money Managers.

If you have any excess money, use it to create an Emergency+Fund in case you need extra money for a drug or treatment not covered by insurance. The fund will also come in handy for a rainy day.

If you have investments, reexamine your investment strategy taking your diagnosis and potential medical needs into account. Start with the question whether you should make investment decisions on your own or use an advisor. Choose financial advisors with care, including a financial planner, investment professional and accountant.

Be sure your important documents are stored appropriately.

Handling A Financial Crunch

If you have having difficulty paying bills:

  • Decide which creditors to pay in what order according to what works best for you - not according to which creditors pressure you when.
  • You can negotiate with creditors. If you're not good at negotiation or are uncomfortable, there are professionals to help.
  • Consider putting assets into a trust to shield them from creditors.
  • Be aware of  your right to not be unduly harrassed by creditors. 

If  you are about to miss a mortgage payment, contact the lender or the company that services the mortgage before you miss the payment.

If all else fails, bankruptcy will give you a chance to start over. Consider the pros and cons. If your emotions keep you from considering bankruptcy, remember that the right to start over is so American that it is built into the constitution.

New Uses Of Credit And Other Assets

If you need money, you may be able to use your existing resources without selling them. For example:

Credit can be used as a source of instant cash. You may be able to get life insurance and disability insurance on the amount of outstanding debt. 

If you don't have credit, you can still get it.

If you own a residence, options include:

  • Refinancing your mortgage
  • Taking a home-equity loan
  • If you age age 62 or older, a reverse mortgage. With a reverse mortgage the bank pays you for a change!

If you have life insurance,  you may be able to get money from your it while you are alive. Alternatives include:

  • Money from the life insurance company through the policy's saving feature or through an addelerated death benefit
  • Borrow against your policy from a private lender
  • Sell your policy in a viatical settlement or senior settlement.

If you have a retirement account, you can likely borrow or withdraw money. You may not have to pay a penalty if  you leave your job, go on disability, or suffer a financial hardship.

Income Taxes

Although preparing and filing income taxes is seldom a high priority for anyone, you may be motivated if you think of saving on income taxes as earning free money. In fact, if you have a lot of medical expenses, you might be able to cut your tax bill by making the right deductions. There are even some credits you might qualify for as a result of your diagnosis.

Learn what's taxable or not, including your Social Security or other private disability benefits. Better safe than sorry!

Also learn techniques to save on your taxes next year despite -- or thanks to -- your illness. Tax planning becomes even more important for people living with a health condition. If you're thinking about giving to charity an asset which appreciated since you obtained it, consider using a Charitable Remainder Trust.

Practice audit avoidance techniques. Your diagnosis may come in handy if you are audited.

Each of these subjects are covered in the articles in "To Learn More."

Retirement Planning

Saving for retirement can help you save taxes now and build a nest egg to access when you retire, go on disability, or face a financial crunch.

Regardless of your health, estimate how much you need to retire. Don't think you could save enough? Learn how to grow savings more quickly by budgeting and managing your accounts and investments.

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