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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.

Colorectal Cancer: Newly Diagnosed: Finances (Stages 2, 3, 4)


A new diagnosis can create financial havoc -- even for a person covered by health insurance.  In addition to the expense of diagnosis and treatment, there may be a loss of income. In one study, 75% of people who filed for bankruptcy due to medical expenses had health insurance.

The way to get your finances in the best possible shape is through financial planning specifically for a person with a life changing diagnosis. This type of planning does not change according to the specific condition or stage.

If you haven't done financial planning before, the idea of doing financial planning may seem daunting -- as if it will require pulling together a lot of papers that aren't in one place or a special expertise that you don't have. In fact, financial planning can be rather simple and not take a lot of time at all. Elsewhere on this site we show you how.

Once you have a picture of what your financial situation is, and what it could be, there are steps you can start taking to improve the situation.

At the least, our finance documents provide techniques for finding often overlooked sources of money, fund raising, dealing with a financial crunch, dealing with creditors and other subjects.

If you are not up to the task of doing financial planning now, postpone it until after treatment, or have a close family member or friend do it for you and let you know what, if anything, you need to do now. If necessary, seek a financial planner with experience helping people with a life changing diagnosis.

  • To get started with financial planning, click here.

  • To learn how to save money on health care, click here.

  • To learn how to negotiate for a lower medical bill, click here.

  • If you have health insurance:

    • To learn how to maximize use of your particular type of health insurance and save money, click here.

    • To learn how to maximize use of tax advantaged health savings account, click here.

  • If you are working, it may be worthwhile to look at our document How To Increase Your Income for simple tips that have helped other people.

  • If you have investments, reexamine your investment strategy to take 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. To learn more, click here.

  • Keep receipts for all medical bills -- including cost of transportation to and from medical appointments. Medical expenses may be deductible. For more information, click here.

  • If you have a shortened life expectancy, you may be able to sell your life insurance and get money now. To learn more, see: Viatical Settlements and Life Settlements.(Link to the documents)

  • Do not think that because you have a serious health condition that you can stop paying taxes. It's a mistake. (It may cheer you to know that your diagnosis may be helpful if you are audited).

  • It is even more important for a person with a serious health diagnosis than an undiagnosed person to avoid losses that could wipe out assets. This means at least having basic automobile and renters or homeowners insurance. Our documents about Property and Casualty Insurance (link to T120) provide unbiased information about the specifics of what you do and don't need.

  • If you have any excess money, use it to create an Emergency+Fund (link to T75) 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. Additional money should go into retirement accounts to reduce current income taxes. You can get to the money if needed.

  • 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.

  • Be sure your important documents are stored appropriately. A loss of documents could mean a heavy financial loss.


  • If you do not have health insurance, read our information in "To Learn More" about paying for treatment when you are uninsured. As soon as you are up to it, start figuring out how to get it. Your diagnosis does not prevent your getting health insurance.

  • If you do have health insurance, assistance is available for paying premiums, co-pays etc. See "To Learn More."

  • If someone takes advantage of you financially, you may have rights as a "vulnerable person."

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