Chemotherapy (chemo) treatment requires you to focus on your strength and health. You will want to start feeling as strong as possible, and keep your eye on finishing treatment. Do all that you can do ahead of time so you can focus on getting through the journey. This might include tending to insurance issues and treatment bills.

Medical insurance and bill management can be among the most frustrating aspects of cancer care. Most hospitals and clinics offer patient services to assist you with these issues. Introduce yourself to the staff and seek help whenever you need it. Here are some additional things you can do:

  • Know exactly what your insurance coverage includes. Your employer or insurance company can get you a copy of your policy.
  • Call your health insurance rep and ask any questions you may have. Know what the coverage issues are before you start treatment.
  • Talk to your doctor and care team about verifying insurance coverage before any procedure, test, or treatment. If they are unable, there may be alternative resources to assist you. Ask your care team to help you find assistance.
  • Keep careful records of all your covered expenses, claims, denials, and appeals. Do not throw away any letters or emails you receive unless you are sure they are junk mail.
  • Take notes when you talk to insurance reps. Write down the date, the rep's name, and their job title. Keep these notes with your records. If you think the rep is wrong or they can't help you, ask to speak with a supervisor.
  • If you have a denied claim, talk with a health insurance rep to find out how to appeal.

Insurance terms can be confusing. You can find a glossary of insurance terms at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website.

Now may be a good time to have a look. You may not want to have to worry about insurance while you are focused on your treatment.

Will Insurance Really Pay for Your Wig?

Some insurance policies may cover wigs. But getting reimbursed is not always easy. Find out what your insurer's needs are for paying you back. Make sure you understand the process for sending in the claims:

  • Call your insurance rep and ask about coverage for "medical prostheses," such as wigs during chemo
  • Get your doctor to prescribe a medical prosthesis
  • Keep your receipt from the hair replacement center or wig store

By keeping track of expenses and deducting qualified items on your tax returns, you may be able to partially recover some of the out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by your insurance.

Medical Costs and Tax Returns

There are often costs (such as mileage to and from medical appointments) that come out of your pocket for your medical treatment during chemo and follow-up cancer care. You may be able to get some money back on your taxes. To do so, you will need to itemize the deductions of your out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses.

If your income is high or your expenses are low, you may not qualify.

As with all tax questions, seek the advice of a qualified tax preparer. You can visit the IRS website to learn more.

Download the Insurance Discussion Record.

  • The Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide can help you understand your
    risk of infection

    Infection can be a serious side effect of strong chemo. Find out the factors that affect your risk of infection. Simply answer a few questions, and then print your results to share with your doctor.

    Use the Chemotherapy and Infection Discussion Guide to find out more.