Pediatric Cancer Financial Toxicity

Pediatric Cancer patient with IV poleFinancial Toxicity of a Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis

by Les Friedman, Mikey’s dad

Treating pediatric cancer is expensive. Rising medical costs wreak havoc on a family’s finances and, in time, become yet another toxic side effect of cancer treatment.

Medical bills quickly fill our mailboxes as costs mount for hospital stays, clinic visits, medicines, tests and surgeries. In addition, unexpected costs for procedures or treatments for infections, dehydration or pain can add to rising costs.

Additional Financial Challenges

As medical bills climb, you may face another financial hit if you leave work to take care of your child. And, depending upon your child’s medical situation, their immune system may be compromised. This means that they can’t go to daycare or school, leaving you scrambling for childcare. Your bill pile may continue to grow due to other treatment-related expenses like gas, hotels, meals and childcare for siblings. It’s also important to remember that long after the completion of treatment, medical-related costs continue. Most patients have on-going follow-up visits at least once a year. Many pediatric cancer patients will have chronic conditions resulting from their treatments. These conditions will also require ongoing treatment.

To sum it all up, at a time when you need to focus on the care of your sick child, you are faced with crippling medical bills. Although this may be true for you, there is good news. Financial help may be closer than you think to help lessen the financial blow.

Where to Find Help

If  your child is covered under your insurance plan, and depending upon your coverage, many of the costs will be covered.  However, this is only one piece of the financial burden. Help may be available for costs not covered by your insurance as well.

Start by getting an idea of how much you think care might cost. Your next step is to meet with the financial counselor at the hospital or facility where your child is being treated. Most hospitals have financial counselors available who deal with insurance all the time. Their knowledge will be valuable for you. In addition, there are other ways to help minimize the financial impact. Below is a list of good resources for you to look into.

Good Resources to Look Into