Childhood cancer survivor's guide to health insurance

Published On: Jun 18 2012 03:39:19 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2012 11:29:49 AM EDT

(NewsUSA) - There are approximately 50 million uninsured people in the U.S. Of those uninsured, young adults are among the highest groups without health insurance. For childhood cancer survivors, however, going without health insurance is not an option.

"As a cancer survivor, you will need health insurance more than ever," says Pam Gabris, Beyond the Cure Coordinator. "If you don't have a lapse in coverage, an insurer cannot deny coverage for your illness or related health problems. It's critical that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities under your health insurance plan to ensure continuous, dependable coverage."

Currently, the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 allows young adults to be insured as dependents on their parents' health insurance if they are under the age of 26. But if that isn't an option, there are other insurance opportunities:

Employer-Provided Insurance. Typically, health insurance offered by employers is a form of managed care. The most common types of managed care are Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Point of Service Plans (POS), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and Health Savings Account (HSA). For questions about which type of policy you are covered under, talk to your human resources manager.

Group Insurance. If you are self-employed, or if your company doesn't provide coverage, group health care policies are sometimes offered through organizations such as labor unions, fraternal and business organizations, student associations or other special-interest groups. Be sure to check with your state's insurance office to avoid fraudulent providers.

State and Federal Programs. Check to see if you qualify for state or federal health insurance through Medicaid or State Children's Health Insurance Programs (S-CHIP). As of 2010, pre-existing insurance is available in all states according to the Affordable Care Act.

Drug Coverage Programs. Programs like the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and the Together Rx Access Card offer relief to prescription drug prices. The National Children's Cancer Society (NCCS) also offers a free prescription drug card that provides significant savings on generic and branded drugs. Visit theNCCS.agelity.com to locate participating pharmacies and print a card.

Individual Policies. Purchasing individual policies can be very expensive, so make sure you exhaust other options first. To get the most of your plan, talk to an insurance broker or contact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Visit beyondthecure.org to learn more.

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