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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: Advanced


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Insurance spreads the risk of a large loss which can be difficult or impossible to bear among a large group of people.

If it wasn’t clear to you before why you need at least health insurance, it was brought home by your diagnosis. There are other insurance products that can be just as important to your financial health (and ability to live your current lifestyle) if the risk they insure against happens. Just about the last thing that is needed is an uninsured large loss.


If you do not have health insurance:

  • Do whatever you can to get it. Despite your recent health history, there are a variety of ways to get health insurance. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act("Obamacare") you can purchase individual health insurance despite your health condition. It is likely less expensive if you can join a group plan offered by an employer or membership organization. The larger the employer, the more likely it will have a health plan for employees. (New employers cannot ask about your health history thatnks to laws such as the Americans With Disabilities Act.)
  • Our document about Uninsured, provides tips about getting the care you need at a reasonable price, and possibly for free.
  • Keep in mind that all medical bills are negotiable.
  • Once you get health insurance,
    • Learn how to maximize use of it. (See the articles in “To Learn More.”)
    • Pay all premiums on time. Late payment is a good excuse for an insurer to cancel your policy.

If you have health insurance:

  • Do whatever you need to do to keep health insurance. Pay premiums on time. Health insurance is likely one of your most valuable assets if not your most valuable asset
  • Learn how to maximize use of your policy. Everything insurance does not pay for, you will have to pay for.
    • It helps to understand the concept behind the policy coverage to get an understanding of what is and is not covered. Underlying concepts are not difficult to understand. They give you an idea of what you can argue for the medical care you want is not covered. The documents in “To Learn More” provide information to help you figure out what general type of policy you have, the concepts, and how to maximize benefits. See:
    • If there are medical expenses that your insurance company refuses to pay for that you think should be covered – keep pressing the company. Appeal. Be persistent.  Experience shows that appeals are worth the time and effort. For tips about appeals, including how to rebut various insurance company arguments, click here. (Also see: How To Negotiate A Lower Medical Bill)
    • Also appeal If something you need is not covered by your policy but it can be done the way you desire for less expense than a way covered by the policy. For instance, appeal if hospitalization is covered but home care isn’t, and being taken care of at home is much less expensive while being just as medically effective. See: How To Appeal A Health Insurance Claim With The Best Chance Of Getting A Yes
  • If you have a tax advantage health savings account, our document see Tax Advantaged Health Savings Plans to learn how to maximize the benefit.
  • If you and/or your spouse leave a job through which you have group health insurance, you are likely to be eligible to continue the coverage under the provisions of the federal and state laws known as COBRA. You will have to pay the premiums yourself, but at least you will have the alternative.

NOTE: Survivorship A to Z provides information about maximizing use of a health insurance plan according to the type of policy. If you do not know what type you have, see Types of Health Insurance Policies and How To Know Which Type You Have


If you have an opportunity to get life insurance or increase the death benefit of any life insurance you already have, take it. In addition to the traditional reasons to have life insurance, you can get money from a life insurance policy while still alive if your have a shortened life expectancy. This is known as a viatical settlement or a life settlement (and is generally referred to as a “Living Benefit"). For information about these alternatives, including how to maximize what you receive, click here and here respectively.

Whether you have life insurance or not, you can still buy life insurance either individually or through an employer or an association or other group. See: Life Insurance 101


It is important for everyone to have basic insurance which includes more than health insurance. An uninsured large loss can be devastating –  especially when added to ongoing medical bills.

Disability Income and Long Term Care Insurance: You are not likely to be able to purchase Disability Income Insurance or Long Term Care Insurance on your own. Disability income insurance provides an income if you become unable to work. Long Term Care Insurance covers in case you need long term care.

You may be able to obtain disability insurance and/or long term care insurance from an employer such as the government.

You may also be able to qualify on your own in time. The longer the period after your episode of cancer, the more likely you will also be able to get Disability Income Insurance and/or Long Term Care Insurance.

Likewise, if you have disability insurance: check to see if the income will be enough for your needs if you become disabled. If not, start thinking about an opportunity to increase the benefit.

For information, see: Disability Income insurance and Long Term Care Insurance from the point of view of a survivor, see the documents in "To Learn More."

Homeowners Insurance: Automobile Insurance: Do your best to at least have basic insurance such as Homeowners Insurance (either the variety for an owner or for a renter). If you own a vehicle, have Automobile Insurance with limits at least in the amount required by your state. The following articles explain the coverage to look for - as well as what to do in the event of a loss.  Homeowners InsuranceAutomobile Insurance

For additional information, see: Property and Casualty Insurance

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