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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.

Newly Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Stages 3 - 4


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Each of the following subjects is discussed in depth in Survivorship A to Z's insurance document. To avoid being overwhelmed, focus on the information you need to know now.

Health Insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California)

Health insurance cannot be cancelled because of your diagnosis.

Check your health insurance policy to find out:

  • If you need pre-approval before you access medical care. If approval is needed:
    • For what? 
    • How do you get apprpoval?
  • Whether your insurance covers the treatment you want. If so, are there conditions and/or restrictions?
  • Whether it covers the person you want to provide the treatment.
  • How much you will have to pay out of pocket.
  • How to file claims. If it is your job to file claims, set up a system to keep track.

If your insurer says "no" to any medical care you believe is necessary, appeal - and keep appealing. Keeping at it pays off. Also:

  • Look for a source of influence that can help. 
  • Get professional help if necessary. 
  • Keep in mind that there are usually procedures to fast track appeals if required by the medical situation.

Do everything you can to keep health insurance in force. If you don't have it, when things settle, start doing what you can to get it. People who have had any type of cancer are at risk of the cancer returning or of another cancer in the future.

If You Do Not Have Health Insurance

Check to see if you qualify for Medicaid, or could take steps to qualify for Medicaid. In most states, you can take actions to qualify for Medicaid and qualify the same day.

There are also techniques for accessing the health care system even if you are not insured (uninsured).

Both of these subjects are covered in the documents noted in "To Learn More."

Disability Insurance

If there is a possibility your breast cancer will make you unable to work for a short period of time or permanently:

  • Check to see if you have disability income coverage through your employer. If you do, what is the waiting period before you receive money, and then how much?
  • If you have a private disability policy, check to see what is defined as a "disability."

Life Insurance

You can still get life insurance. Get as much life insurance as you can. In addition to providing coverage for dependents, life insurance can be a source of money if your life expectancy becomes short. For example:

  • You can get insurance known as "guaranteed" life insurance which is sold with few if any questions.
  • You may be able to get life insurance through your employer during an open enrollment period - or increase the death benefit for any life insurance you already have.   
  • You may be able to get a death benefit on your credit cards. 

Other Insurance

This is no time for a major, unaffordable, loss.

Keep to date on premium payments for basic insurance such as Homeowners Insurance and Automobile insurance.  If you don't have either of these policies, this is a good time to get them. Survivorship A to Z provides unbiased information about what to look for in each of these basic policies (and how to file a claim if one happens.) See: To Learn More. 

NOTE: When you have contact with people at the insurance company: Be friendly. (We refer to it as making a friend.) Make notes.  Keep copies of all documents you send.

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