The Business Of Cancer

Kevin Berry

One of the ugly little facts that we weren’t told on “D-day” was that we didn’t just get cancer, we got a new family business. A typical cancer patient’s treatment can easily cost $100,000 a year or more. Even for those of us with great insurance, the cost of co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles can run into thousands of dollars. So in addition to dealing with treatments, side effects and emotional trauma, patients and their families find themselves running a major business.

I am one of those with great insurance, thanks to my employers. Even though our out-of-pocket expenses are manageable, the “cash flow” of my 12-year battle is approaching $2 million. My wife and I have found that for long periods, often coinciding with the worst times of my disease, one of us needs to spend at least an hour a day, five days a week, working on our undesired business.

Here are a few of the time bandits we deal with:
At least 20 percent of the time, each of these items will be messed up. Just coordinating a simple error between a doctor’s billing company and your insurance company requires at least three phone calls and 10-15 minutes on hold. Usually, follow up is needed to make sure things get sorted out. And, while it’s frustrating, I have to remind myself that spending an hour on the phone to turn a $1,000 patient “responsibility” into a $35 co-pay is well worth the time spent.

Whether you are the patient, or the caregiver, sorting through the business of cancer is a monumental task. Like it or not, you will become an expert in subjects you never dreamed you’d need to know. It requires quite a balance of persistence, people skills, time management and understanding the processes to resolve the myriad of complex issues that define our current health care system.

Here’s a few tips we’ve noted along the way, many learned through the school of hard knocks
You and your caregiver are going to spend a lot of time together doing paperwork. It’s one more stressor on top of all the other things you are going through. We hope the above tips might ease your burden a little bit.

Besides the other wonderful blogs on Cure Today’s site, I hope you'll also visit my Taking Vienna site. That’s where I talk in a much more personal way about my battle, my family and friends, and other random and odd musings.
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