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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: Nearing End Of LIfe

How To Cope With Financial Issues

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If you are insured:

  • Your health insurance will continue to cover medical treatments so long as they are medically necessary.
  • Most health insurance includes the relief of pain and other symptoms. This is known as palliative care. Palliative care is generally covered even if you decide to stop treating the basic disease.
  • Maximizing use of your health insurance policy will minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.  To learn how to maximize your health insurance, click here;  Medicaid, click here, Medicare Part D, click here.
  • Financial assistance may be available if needed to pay for premiums, co-insurance or co-pays. For information, click here

If you are uninsured:

  • Use the information in our document about Uninsured to minimize the cost of treatment.
  • Financial assistance may be available. For information, click here
  • You can still buy health insurance. (To learn more, click here
  • Veterans qualify for veterans health coverage. (Click here) 
  • You may be able to qualify for Medicaid (Medi-cal in California.) For information about Medicaid, click here. For information about transferring income or assets to qualify for Medicaid, click here.  
  • There are techniques for obtaining the care you need (see the Survivorship A to Z "Uninsured”) while attempting to minimize cost. 
  • Financial assistance may be available. For information, click here
  • Veterans qualify for veterans health coverage. (Click here
  • If you have limited income and resources in addition to a house and car, you may qualify for Medicaid or be able to qualify for Medicaid (Medi-cal in California. For information about Medicaid, click here.  For information about transferring income or assets to qualify for Medicaid, click here.  

If you have a money crunch:

  • Survivorship A to Z provides comprehensive information for maximizing your resources (including information about how to borrow money from family and friends), how to deal with creditors, and new uses of your assets such as the sale of a life insurance policy as a Viatical Settlement or a Life Settlement. (For more information, click here and here respectively.)
  • Financial assistance for children and families of people with a life expectancy of six months or less may be available through National Association for the Terminally Ill. Among other assistance, financial assistance may be available for telephone bills, home/auto repairs, electric bills, rent/mortgage, grocery vouchers and medications. To learn more, see: offsite link.

If you have credit cards with a death benefit:

  • You can increase the amount you leave your heirs by only paying the minimums due each month, and by charging or writing checks on the accounts to pay your medical costs and other items.
  • Without commenting on the morality of the situation, the Wall Street Journal reported on one fellow who used a check written on his credit card to pay for a down payment on a car. He obtained credit life insurance on the balance due the car company. When he died, his wife received the car free and clear thanks to a combination of the death benefit on his credit card and the credit life insurance.

If you decide to stop treatment and instead move to Hospice care, insurance covers that as well. Hospice care is provided on a sliding scale basis or for free.


  • It’s easy to ignore filing taxes at a time like this, but it is preferable not to. If you don’t have time or the inclination to prepare a full tax return, at least pay an estimate of the tax and file for an extension of the time required to file a return. These steps will save your estate unnecessary expense in the form of penalties which otherwise go to the government  instead of your heirs.
  • It is recommended that you preplan (not pre-pay) your funeral. It will save your estate money and avoid undue stress on your heirs at an already stressful time. (To learn more, click here. If you decide to preplan your funeral, financial assistance is available to help with funerals. Click here

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