Tackling the financial toll of cancer

buy canada goose jacket A radiation therapist helps Scott Steiner up after radiation therapy at Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center in Grand Rapids, Mich. Steiner has battled canada goose outlet official cancer, and its financial consequences, for eight years. Even before Scott Steiner started treatment for a rare gastrointestinal cancer that had spread throughout his abdomen, a dangerous side effect threatened his health. buy canada goose jacket

Canada Goose online His doctor had prescribed the cancer drug Gleevec, but Steiner’s insurance refused to cover its $3,500 monthly cost. Steiner, a warehouse manager for a publisher of Bible themed literature, and his wife, Brenda, a part time nurse, made just $30,000 a year. No way could they afford the drug on their own. Canada Goose online

Canada Goose Jackets “We still had six kids at home how were we going to come up canada goose factory outlet vancouver with that kind of money?” Steiner said. “We couldn’t re mortgage the house, because it had already been re mortgaged. I wouldn’t have been able to take the medication. We would have had to just trust in the Lord.” Canada Goose Jackets

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canada goose clearance sale It was a scary brush with “financial toxicity,” as researchers call the mix of economic stress, anxiety and depression cancer patients often endure. But then canada goose jacket uk Steiner was assigned to Dan Sherman, an oncology social worker at Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center who within days got a free supply of Gleevec from the manufacturer. He also made sure it was delivered promptly. The package arrived at Steiner’s home on Christmas Eve, his 46th birthday. canada goose clearance sale

canada goose Scott Steiner, center, sits with his wife, Brenda, as they talk with clinical financial consultant Dan Sherman canada goose outlet orlando about his continuing cancer care. (Laura McDermott/For The Washington Post) canada goose

cheap Canada Goose In the eight years since, Steiner has faced a series of medical and financial reversals, and each time Sherman has done as much as any doctor to keep Steiner going scrambling to get the treatment he needed without sending his family into bankruptcy. “He keeps throwing me life rafts before I sink,” canada canada goose outlet goose outlet seattle Steiner said. cheap Canada Goose

canada goose black friday sale With cancer costs only continuing to rise, Sherman and other “financial navigators” across the country have moved to the front lines of efforts to help people survive financially as well canada goose uk site as medically. They take canada goose outlet hong kong a highly individualized approach, canada goose outlet us working closely with patients and oncologists from the time of diagnosis and continuing through the twists and turns of a protracted illness. canada goose black friday sale

Their strategy http://www.canadagoosejacketoutlett.com is to pull every lever available to extract maximum assistance from pharmaceutical companies, the government, foundations and the hospitals themselves, and to make sure patients know the best insurance options for canada goose outlet uk sale their particular illness. Such aggressiveness is needed, experts say, because millions of Americans are struggling with canada goose outlet paypal high out of pocket expenses. The complexity of the health care system only makes things worse, they add.

Canada Goose sale “We are experienced in dealing with the side effects of treatment,” Sherman said, “but we have not recognized that we are causing financial harm to patients.” Canada Goose sale

canada canada goose outlet ottawa goose clearance Although many in the health care industry say such collateral damage must be addressed that hospitals need to become much more sophisticated, that doctors need to shed their reluctance to discuss costs with patients canada goose outlet in uk they acknowledge it’s not happening quickly. canada goose clearance

“This isn’t something that health systems typically like canada goose outlet uk to deal with,” said Scott Ramsey, director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. canada goose outlet authentic “But someone needs to step in, assess patients’ financial risks and do something to manage their finances.”

In that city, canada goose outlet store uk a nonprofit called CENTS is matching 25 recently diagnosed cancer patients from Hutchinson with volunteers who help manage their expenses and insurance needs. canada goose sale uk “People who feel safe financially and physically are going to have a better [treatment] result,” said co founder Karen Overstreet, a retired federal bankruptcy judge.

canada goose coats on sale In Milwaukee, social workers at Aurora Health Care’s cancer center have added financial counseling to the psychological support they’ve long provided to patients. “We didn’t want patients walking away from treatments because of the expense,” said Brad Zimmerman, who, like his colleagues, often turns to foundations funded by pharmaceutical companies and philanthropic groups to cover patients’ medication co pays. canada goose coats on sale

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And in New York City, admissions staffers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center now ask specifically whether patients have financial concerns about treatment, said Chief Operations Officer Kathryn Martin. “We work closely with patients on complex issues and even help patients pick insurance products that are best for them,” she said.

Behind such efforts is a bitter and fundamental dispute over why patients, even those with insurance, get hit with extraordinary costs for cancer care.

canada goose coats Pharmaceutical companies say insurers are to blame for requiring consumers to absorb higher deductibles and co pays before coverage kicks in. Insurers say excessive hospital charges, doctor fees and drug prices are the culprits and that drug assistance programs actually encourage greater medication use. canada goose coats

Canada Goose Outlet And hospitals complain that the pharmaceutical companies are inflating prices and that insurers are failing to adequately cover needed treatments. Canada Goose Outlet

Sherman ignores the finger pointing. Over the past several years, he has worked with about 25 hospitals across the country to set up financial navigation services. “I can’t do anything about prices or most of what happens in the health care system,” he said. “But I can help the cancer patient sitting in front of me.”

An ‘unfolding disaster’

canada goose store Cancer has always been an expensive disease. canada goose store

canadian goose jacket Because of the Affordable Care Act, millions more people are insured, including some who previously couldn’t buy coverage at any price. Even so, researchers say, many Americans are underinsured, with out of pocket expenses outstripping their ability to pay. They include deductibles (paid by the patient before insurance kicks in), co pays (set dollar amounts for a prescription or service) and co insurance (a percentage of the cost of a drug or service). canadian goose jacket

Most ACA and employer insurance plans have out of pocket maximums $6,850 for individuals and $13,700 for family coverage for this year yet the costs can still be oppressive. Patients may have to pay more for out of network services. And with some cancer drugs weighing in at $10,000 a month, co pays for patients can reach hundreds and even thousands of dollars a month.

canada goose deals Recent studies have documented patients’ financial distress, from reduced income and depleted savings to loss of their homes. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University concluded in March that almost 30percent canada goose outlet michigan of cancer survivors experience some kind of financial burden and are more likely canada goose outlet store calgary to then become depressed. Ramsey has found that people battling cancer are, on average, about 2 1 /2times more likely to file for bankruptcy than people without cancer canada goose outlet shop and that post bankruptcy patients are nearly 80percent more likely to die from any cause compared with others with cancer canada canada goose outlet store toronto goose deals.