Monday, January 28, 2013

surviving the financial costs of lung cancer

Whenever I try to play the ‘lung cancer card’ on medical bill collectors they politely but correctly point out that whether I live or die has no bearing on my medical debt, it just goes to my family.

Medical insurance and medical providers have been swarming across America for years like the biblical plague of locust consuming an ever larger share of family income in a last chance profit grab raising the bar on medical costs before implementation of Obamacare.

In my story specifically, monthly medical insurance premiums have grown 147% and yearly deductibles have grown 757% in the last 4 years. My story is not unique, health care costs are outpacing income growth.

Unlike the Federal government families cannot deficit spend and as I am still trying to pay off my yearly medical deductibles from 2012 I am financially crippled to incur any new medical debt for 2013.

Admittedly my lung cancer odyssey is complicated in that self-employed and lacking an income producing spouse; the months recovering without income were economically catastrophic.

Soooo with my medical insurance ‘high deductible’ plan reset when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2013 … I have no choice but to reevaluate health benefits vs financial costs and frankly choose between scans, appointments, procedures and yes, living expenses.

The first months of my lung cancer diagnosis were consumed with the question “how long do I have to live?” … Grateful for this 'overtime' year the question now is “how long can I afford to live?”

Last Spring I read in our local paper of church and/or community fundraisers for families struggling to meet their medical insurance deductibles while battling cancer.  Too much makes sense now, including …
"Lung cancer patients fortunate enough to live up to 5 years after their diagnosis had the highest bankruptcy rates…” American Society of Clinical Oncology
My heart and prayers go out to the uninsured and under-insured and their families facing a diagnosis of lung cancer. Being unable to afford to live is cruel.

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. I read this the other day, Patrick, and surprisingly didn't have anything to say :)

    But then 2 days later, saw on my FB page an appeal from a dear friend of ours facing stage 3 ovarian cancer with high insurance premiums and deductibles and her being the only source of income for her family, having to quit her job to face cancer treatment. She set up a fund through go fund me for help with expenses.

    sad isn't it? like you said..........


    1. AMEN! Betty. While 'Blogger' for example is an open community there are increasing gated blogging communities such as 'Caring Bridge' that have donations incorporated into them to help with expenses.

  2. a 'phone friend' asked if I had inquired of financial assistance from hospital for 'high deductible' medical insurance debt. I had however their assistance programs are designed for the uninsured.

  3. It will really cost you a lot when you get sick. That is why I'm praying that none of us will get sick. High medical bill will only kill me.