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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.


Insurance covers costs and losses which are too large for the average person to bear alone.

Arguably, health insurance is the most important asset to have after a diagnosis.

  • If you don't have health insurance, you can get it thanks to the Affordable Care Act (also known as "Obamacare") which eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions and expands Medicaid
  • If you do have health insurance, take the time to understand how to maximize use of the coverage and minimize your out-of-pocket expense. Do everything you can to keep health insurance. (If finances are difficult, see our document on Dealing With A Financial Crunch.)

Each of the other types of insurance mentioned in the other sections of this article are also important to a person living after a diagnosis. A large loss which could have been made more bearable through insurance would likely be more difficult for a person with a health history than for a person who has no health history.

Health Insurance

Modern medicine can perform miracles. However, in health care at least, miracles don't come cheap. Fortunately, there's health insurance. 

If you have health insurance:

  • It is helpful to understand the basic concepts behind the policy to help maximize use of the policy, lower out-of-pocket costs, and minimize hassles. (The same is true for tax advantaged health related savings accounts).
  • There are techniques for maximizing use of a policy. For instance, when dealing with an insurer, you are more likely to get what you need if you follow some time tested guides for talking with your insurer.
  • If you have a problem getting what you want from your plan, don't just roll over and accept it. If your claim is denied, appeal. Statistics show that an appeal is worth the effort. If your story could help other people while getting an insurer to say "yes," consider talking with the media.
  • If you have a choice of health insurance policies, our unique Health Plan Evaluator will help you compare different plans to determine which one is best for you based on your needs and preferences. Despite commonly held misconceptions, a managed care policy such as an HMO can work well for you if you know how to use it.
  • When you renew a policy, don't assume the coverage and costs will be the same. Check the fine print as well as the easy to spot features such as premiums.
  • If you have your policy through work and want to leave your job, unlock the mystery behind all those initials, ERISA, HIPAA and COBRA - federal laws that protect the insurance you received through your employer.
  • If you have not been working because of your health and you are thinking of returning to work, check what could happen to your health insurance and other benefits.

If  you do not have health insurance, there are ways to get it in spite of your health condition. 

Each of these subjects and more are discussed in the documents in "To Learn More."

Long Term Care

In case you might at some point need long-term care, private health insurance policies, Medicare and Medicaid only cover small amounts of such care. To fill the gap, Long Term Care Insurance pays for care at home, in an Assisted Living Facility, and/or in a Nursing Home. 

You may still be able to get individual or group long term care insurance through work - perhaps by changing jobs if this insurance is not offered by a current employer. (Thanks to a law known as HIPAA, there is no longer job lock because of a health history)..

Once you have Long Term Care insurance, find out everything you need to know about your coverage, including step-by-step instructions for filing claims and appealing denials. If you actually become disabled, learn what to expect while you're on disability.

Each of these subjects and related subjects are discussed in the documents in "To Learn More."

Replacing Income If You Have To Stop Working

If you need to stop working, your income can be replaced by a disability income insurance policy that you can get on your own, by joining an association, or through work. If you don't have any disability income insurance coverage and are able to work, you may still be able to get it.

Keep in imind that you may be eligible for income replacement under government programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Unemployment Insurance and Workers Compensation. 

  • SSDI and SSI provide an income if you become disabled and unable to work. The definition of disabled is broad. You do not have to be bound to a wheel chair.
  • Unemployment insurance provides an income if you become unemployed for any reason.
  • Workers Compensation generally provides an income If the reason you have to stop working is because of a work related injury or medical condition. (This is in addition to medical bills, which Workers Compensation insurance also covers).

Each of these subjects, as well as related subjects, are covered in the documents in "To Learn More."

Life Insurance

Life insurance can provide protection to your heirs. If you need it, life insurance can even provide a source of cash for you now, while you are still alive. 

You can still purchase life insurance in spite of your health condition.

If you already have life insurance:

  • Find out if you can increase the death benefit.
  • You might be able to use life insurance for money now if necessary. Before you do, balance your needs against those of your beneficiary.
  • Be sure your beneficiary designation is up to date.
  • You may not have to continue to pay premiums on a life insurance policy if you become disabled and have a disability waiver attached to your policy.

Each of these subjects are discussed in the documents in "To Learn More."


Home And Automobile

Now is not the time to risk a large, uninsured, financial loss that you could do something about. Other types of insurance, such as Homeowners Insurance and Automobile Insurance, are essential to protecting what you already own. Automobile insurance is also required if you own an autombile.

Examine your needs to assure that you have the right insurance coverage at a reasonable cost.

A household inventory, whether you do it by video or in writing, can make a major difference if you have a claim. Take a few minutes to review out information about what to do in the event of a claim. A loss is bad enough. Not knowing what to do right away (and as the claim progresses) can make it worse.

For more information, see "To Learn More."

Workers Compensation Insurance

If you work, you are likely entitled to employer paid Workers Compensation insurance benefits if you are injured on the job or get a work related medical condition. Workers Compensation Insurance does not cover illness that is not job related.

Other Insurance

There are a whole batch of other insurance policies for which you likely receive constant solicitations. Some of these policies may be worthwhile depending on your circumstances. Most are not.

If you travel, travel insurance which does not exclude pre-existing conditions is a good thing. (Many policies require that you purchase the policy within a short period of time after booking the trip if you want coverage with no pre-existing condition exclusion).

Hospital Indemnity insurance pays a dollar amount for each day you are in a hospital (generally whether or not you also have Health Insurance). The income can be particularly meaningful for people who have a treatment that requires overnight hospitalization which becomes two days worth of income.

Dental insurance covers oral care. Dental insurance is expensive to purchase individually. It may be obtained as part of coverage from an employer. (Speaking of dental, oral care is an often overlooked area when discussing health care. An infection in the mouth can spread through the body - particularly one which is weakened by a health condition, drugs or treatment).

Whether pet insurance is worthwhile depends on a variety of factors.

For more information, see the documents in "To Learn More."