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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.

Content Overview

Newly Diagnosed With Cancer

Start looking at your insurance and financial situation to determine how you will pay for medical care. Even with health insurance, medical care can be costly. Free or low cost care is available if you are uninsured or underinsured.

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If you have health insurance:

  • Do whatever is necessary to keep it. Health insurance is vitally important.
  • Learn what your health insurance does and does not cover, whether you are restricted to a group of doctors or hospitals or have a broader choice, and what needs prior approval, if anything.
  • Learn how to maximize use of your health insurance.
  • Keep in mind: if you don't get what you want from your insurer you should look for a source of influence that can help. (For example, the person in HR who negotiated the company's contract, or a caring case manager at the insurer). If that doesn't work: appeal - and appeal again. Be persistent. If appeals don't work, think about pressure you can apply on the insurer - such as through the state Insurance Commission or through the press. (We tell you how to frame your story to get press attention in the document listed in "To Learn More.")

If you don't have health insurance, there are still ways to access health care. Keep in mind that all medical bills are negotiable. 

If you have too many assets or income to qualify for Medicaid (Medi-cal in California), it may still be possible to qualify.

If you have to pay for your care, consider traveling outside the U.S. for good quality care at a lower price. This is known as "Medical Tourism."


  • Experience indicates that people who take the attitude "I'm going to die, so I'm going to blow through all my money now", generally live to regret it. Even with the most dire diagnosis, someone survives.
  • If finances of any type are an issue, Survivorship A to Z provides financial planning information that will help you maximize your resources. We also have tips for dealing with a financial crunch. 

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