How Can I Pay for Cancer Treatment With No Insurance?
First off, realize you’re not alone; 45 million Americans have no health insurance. While it makes getting treatment more difficult, lack of insurance doesn’t mean you can’t get treated. But See also:
See all 943 questions about Cancer you’ll need to be proactive about getting healthcare, since you won’t have the safety net of an insurance company and primary care doctor overseeing your treatment. Keep this mantra in mind: Your job is to get better, and to do that you need to obtain the best healthcare you can get, using the resources you have.
The first thing you need to do is find out what hospitals and medical centers provide treatment to the uninsured in your area. Every region has hospitals operated by state and local government (public hospitals) as well as some nonprofit hospitals that provide a safety net for anyone who needs care, regardless of ability to pay.
Start by contacting your local health department (in the government pages of your phone book or on the Internet) to ask what public health services are offered in your community. But don’t stop there; call your local hospital and ask to speak with a social worker. Ask for information about any “charity care” or “indigent care” programs. Hospital social workers are usually the most knowledgeable about sources of support in your community.
It’s also important to research hospitals that are required to provide treatment under the Hill-Burton Hospital Program. Hospitals that receive construction funds from the federal government must provide some services to cancer patients who can’t afford to pay for their care. Approximately 300 hospitals take part in this program. Call (800) 638-0742 to find the closest participating hospital.
In addition, the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service can direct you to local programs as well. For more information, go to www.cancer.gov or call (800)-422-6237.
If you have breast or cervical cancer, there are additional resources mandated under the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act of 2000. This legislation extended Medicaid coverage for women who have been screened and diagnosed through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program in states that have agreed to provide this service. For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/index.htm or call (888) 842-6355.