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#148522 - 04/19/12 09:15 PM Self Pay for Treatment
honeybee77 Offline

Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Missouri, USA
Hi everyone

Some information may already exist on this question, so I apologize if I end up wasting someone's time.

I was wondering... My husband is self employed and I'm a stay at home Mom of two. We have no insurance. Now, at this point I'm looking at paying my own way to see an ENT who specializes in OC and also pay for the biopsy he'll do. (I have been told that just that portion of things will be costly)

Anyway, I know I'm jumping the gun here, but what happens if I do receive a positive diagnosis? How in the world will my husband be able to pay for surgery, rad and or chemotherapy if needed? I'm just trying to kind of prepare. I wouldn't even know where to start. His income is about $3500.00 monthly for our family of four.

Any insight would be welcome. Thank you all so much.

#148532 - 04/19/12 11:11 PM Re: Self Pay for Treatment [Re: honeybee77]
EricS Offline
Patient Advocate (1000+ posts)

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 1844
Loc: Idaho
Hi Queen!

That's a good question and we are here to help! I'm not familiar (as I've had to be away from the boards) whether it's you or your husband with cancer.

Taking this thing on without Insurance is not fun to be sure but it's also doable. My wife and I had an issue with our insurance (pre existing condition! "loved" it) and I ended up not being able to work due to how bad treatment was for me. Three months later Aly lost her job due to the economy...those were rough times but we made it through even though it was really hard with our young children.

Get me up to speed on who's got cancer and what stage it's at and I'll share with you what insights I can based on what my wife and I did.

Young Frack, SCC T4N2M0, Cisplatin,35+ rads,ND, RT Mandiblectomy w fibular free flap, facial paralysis, "He who has a "why" to live can bear with almost any "how"." -Nietzche "WARNING" PG-13 due to Sarcasm & WAY too much attitude, interact at your own risk.

#148543 - 04/20/12 01:02 AM Re: Self Pay for Treatment [Re: EricS]
ChristineB Offline
Administrator, Director of Patient Support Services
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 06/23/07
Posts: 9435
Loc: PA
Some hospitals will work with their patients. They use a sliding scale and have a "reduced care card" that will enable the recipient a discount. This discount is not available at every hospital. There could also be some state programs which could be cost effective for you and your family.

Good luck with everything! Hope it turns out to be nothing serious.
SCC 6/15/07 L chk & by L molar both Stag I, age44
2x cispltn-35 IMRT end 9/27/07, no caregiver
Clear PET 1/08
4/4/08 recur L chk Stag I
surg 4/16/08 clr marg
215 HBO dives
3/09 teeth out, trismus
7/2/09 recur, Stg IV
8/24/09 trach, ND, mandiblctmy
3wks medicly inducd coma
2 mo extended hospital stay, ICU & burn unit
PICC line w/ IV antibiotics 8 mo
10/4/10, 2/14/11 reconst surg
OC 3 times in 3 years
very happy to be alive smile

#148545 - 04/20/12 02:16 AM Re: Self Pay for Treatment [Re: ChristineB]
honeybee77 Offline

Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Missouri, USA
Thank you both very much.

Eric, I have not been diagnosed with anything at this point. I am preparing for an upcoming biopsy & kind of just taking everything in and considering all the what ifs. I don't know if that's a good thing or not, just how my mind works I suppose.

Thank you all for your time. Your experiences amaze & encourage me.


#148548 - 04/20/12 02:56 AM Re: Self Pay for Treatment [Re: honeybee77]
EricS Offline
Patient Advocate (1000+ posts)

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 1844
Loc: Idaho
Well, the first advice is to take one step at a time. We have a saying on these boards that "it's not cancer until a biopsy says it is." so don't get too far ahead of the situation.

What I'll tell you is that getting through cancer without insurance can be done if needed, been there and done it. What I'll advise is that until someone definitively tells you you have cancer that's been confirmed by a biopsy, not to think about the "next" step. Put it out of your mind because all it will do is break you down mentally. There are too many other conditions that can go on in your mouth that aren't cancer, so get the results, then ask the questions. Until then there is no need.

Good luck

Young Frack, SCC T4N2M0, Cisplatin,35+ rads,ND, RT Mandiblectomy w fibular free flap, facial paralysis, "He who has a "why" to live can bear with almost any "how"." -Nietzche "WARNING" PG-13 due to Sarcasm & WAY too much attitude, interact at your own risk.

#148567 - 04/20/12 04:21 PM Re: Self Pay for Treatment [Re: EricS]
Maria Offline
"Above & Beyond" Member (500+ posts)

Registered: 07/15/11
Posts: 945
Loc: Ohio
Hi, Queenbee -
I also like to pre-stress, but I think that in this case you should trust Eric. For what its worth, a colleague managed with no insurance and testicular cancer - so I believe it can be done, too, if it comes down to it. It looks like Missouri will have at least some nice weather this weekend - maybe you and your family can get out to enjoy it!
CG to husband - SCC Tonsil T1N2M0 HPV+ Never Smoker
First symptoms 7/2010, DX 12/2010
TX 40 IRMT (1.8 gy) + 10 Cetuximab
PET Scans 6/2011 + 3/2012 clear, 5 year physical exam clear; chest CT's clear of cancer. On thyroid pills. Life is good.

#148601 - 04/21/12 05:29 AM Re: Self Pay for Treatment [Re: honeybee77]
bmander Offline

Registered: 04/21/12
Posts: 1
Loc: Minnesota

I'm in a very similar situation as you and I was actually looking for more ideas on how to pay for things as well!

I was laid off last year, denied insurance a few times (before any cancer), and am now basically self-employed. In February I had a biopsy, and in March I had a partial glossectomy in the hospital. I've got bills now for the doctor, hospital, anesthesia, anesthetist, pathologist, etc. amounting to thousands of dollars. This doesn't include any further treatment. I have yet to see an ENT. I can tell you what I've found out, since navigating the uninsured healthcare system is ridiculous!

Definitely check with your state or county to see what programs they have for low-income health care. Where I live, you have to be below the income requirement and without insurance for four months. Having two kids will probably be helpful because then you'll most likely have a higher income limit or more services will be available. (Sadly, childless people don't have as many options.)

If you've applied to insurance companies or are denied by your state, there might be health insurance you can apply for that you qualify for once you're denied. It's for the high-risk pool, so it's more expensive than standard insurance, but it might be worth it depending upon what you find out.

I've tried to search for non-profits/charities that could help with costs, but I haven't had a ton of luck. It was suggested to me to try your church if you attend one, because they might help with assistance, fundraisers, donations, etc.

If you end up with bills from the biopsy and/or treatment afterward, check with the hospital and every other party involved (since you'll get a bunch of separate bills). My surgeon discounted a lot off his charges because if I had state aid, he wouldn't have gotten more than that anyway. The hospital I went to had a "charity care" program but I couldn't qualify based on income (this is where having dependents helps out again!). I called the path lab to ask if they would give me a discount and they knocked off $100 (maybe 1/4 of the bill). Definitely call and ask because they won't necessarily offer it up. And if you can't pay your bills, hospitals are pretty willing to work out a payment plan so you can just pay a small amount every month.

Don't pay any bills until you try to get it paid for by insurance or get a discount. You have quite a while before they send a second bill, call you, etc.

Also, I had the biopsy and surgery through a university, so I think it was a little cheaper (at the least the biopsy had to be) and it's still probably the best hospital in the area.

Lastly, this is funny to say because I really have to follow my own advice...don't stress about the finances. I was SO stressed out before my surgery worrying about how I was possibly going to pay for things. I'm starting to realize it's just money and I can pay off the hospital little by little.

Good luck with the biopsy. Let me know if you find out any other good information!
34 y.o. female, SCC of the tongue T1N0M0, partial glossectomy 3/13/12, non-smoker and HPV-


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