Sometimes important commemorations do not unfold all at once. Breast Cancer Awareness Month—October—began only as a week when it was first started in 1985. As explained through the Brevard Health Alliance, the one-week remembrance grew to a month and featured pink ribbons by 1992. In large part because our country confoundingly links healthcare to employment, breast cancer and its treatment often results in financial devastation.
Cancer of any kind immediately propels most Americans into a double whammy of medical crisis and financial strain.
The National Cancer Institute says cancer costs in 2015 were approximately $190.2 billion, a staggering figure shouldered largely by insurance companies and individuals.
The net effect:
- Cancer claims approximately 600,000 American lives every year, with around 42,000 women and 500 men dying from breast cancer annually
- Patient costs were highest for female breast cancer
- Prescription drug costs were highest for patients diagnosed with female breast cancer
- Cancer diagnosis and treatment is divided into phases of care—initial or the first year after diagnosis, continuing care or the time in between initial and end-of-life, and end-of-life or the year before cancer death; per-patient, annualized average costs were highest in the last year of life, topping $103,000
- The Biden Administration's Executive Order from October 14—an order designed to lower prescription drug costs—included specific language “to improve cancer care and lower health care costs for cancer patients, including prescription drug costs”
- The American Cancer Society calculates patient expenses for the first year of cancer care (for co-pays, deductibles, premiums, and coinsurance) as $5,819 with employer-sponsored insurance; $10,114 with a health plan bought in the marketplace; and $8,793 with Medicare
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The Affordable Care Act (ACA, nicknamed Obamacare) of 2010 was our country's first attempt in decades to deal with escalating healthcare costs. While imperfect, the Act does provide protections for ordinary Americans dealing with cancer and medical debt. As enumerated by the American Cancer Society, the Act helps by:
- Providing preventive care, such as screening mammograms and colonoscopies, at no cost to patients
- Not allowing yearly and lifetime dollar limits on the amount of coverage a health plan will pay for
- Limiting out-of-pocket costs that an individual or family will pay every year
- Encouraging more competition among health plans and empowering consumers to choose the best one for them
- Helping low- and middle-income people afford health coverage in the health insurance marketplaces
- Helping to make sure health plans don't charge you more just because you have a pre-existing condition (except for grandfathered plans)
- Not allowing any plan to charge women more than men
Bankruptcy and Medical Debt
Under the stress of dealing with cancer care, multiple medical appointments, and aggressive treatments, many Texans deliberately ignore their mounting medical bills. Often, too, these bills do not arrive in a timely manner. While treatments and prescription drugs come quickly, bills may be delayed by months.
Distracted by the emotional and medical turmoil of breast cancer, the struggling Texas household may suddenly face thousands of dollars in medical debt stacked up on top of everyday debt. Motley Fool says 19 percent of Texans have medical debt in collections, with a median $835 of medical debt in collections.
Bankruptcy is a wise and soothing way to handle medical debt. Through Chapter 7 bankruptcy you can hold onto your home and exempt protect your other assets…think cars, retirement accounts. By turning your financial burden over to the capable hands of a bankruptcy attorney, you can restore peace of mind to your household.
Whether you are facing medical bills on the order of $10,000 or “only” $835, too much is simply too much. Your budget is busted. Your wits are at their frazzled ends, and your sleepless nights are piling up.
You and your loved ones need to focus all your emotional and mental faculties on conquering breast cancer. With an experienced bankruptcy lawyer lifting the burden of medical debt from you, you can regain control and focus your fighting energy.
Taking the Cure
You can begin to take control and seek a cure for medical debt by contacting a Denton County and Collin County bankruptcy attorney. You may also call 214-618-2101 to schedule your 40 minute complimentary strategy session with The Page Law Firm. Breast cancer is terrifying. Let The Page Law Firm help you fight the fear.