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Navigating MDS and Your Finances
Posted: Aug 05, 2022
Navigating MDS and Your Finances image

Most cancer patients are totally unaware of all of the resources available to help them navigate the complex maze of legal, employment, and insurance systems that can arise and continually change after and during treatment. Especially today with COVID-19, additional resources have become available to cancer patients. Many patients and their families are completely unaware of the financial impact that cancer can have on their lives.

If you and/or your spouse are still working, there are many things to consider. With states opening up and jobs being eliminated possibly permanently, how can you prepare yourself so you will not become a casualty of the times? 

Decide If You Can Work Through Treatment

Individuals diagnosed with cancer who are concerned about returning to work due to a compromised immune system have options and resources available to them including: 

  • ADA & Reasonable Accommodations: will you need special accommodations? (employer obligations)
  • Paid time off
  • Sick or vacation time. Not job protected
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: provides up to two weeks of paid sick leave for employees who able unable to work or telework (five stipulations)
  • Emergency Family & Medical Leaves Act through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act FMLA
  • Disability Insurance 
  • Social Security Disability 
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Review your Health Insurance Options
  • Review your current health insurance plan and compare with other plans that may be available. Take into consideration the services you will be using for your ongoing MDS treatment. Don’t wait until enrollment time to start looking. Review new health insurance options (Medicare or private insurance available through the Patient Protection and Affordable Act) by visiting:  www.healthcare.org or Health Insurance Marketplace in your state.
  • Understand Your Consumer Rights
  • Understand your financial picture from credit to appealing a denied medical bill.
  • Seek help from a financial planner. (financial planners work with people of all income levels). Ask around for referrals for a planner. Research them on Broker Check before hiring. Most offer an initial free consultation.

If necessary, seek help from a consumer credit counseling agency. They can provide you with practical tools such as financial calculators and budget worksheets. Make sure you investigate and understand the possible negative impact they can have on your credit score.

Arming yourself with information about your legal, employment, insurance and consumer rights in addition to getting assistance from these resources can help you manage the financial impact of cancer.

The author Diahanna Vallentine

about the author
Diahanna Vallentine

Diahanna is a HealthTree Coach specializing in financial help for blood cancer patients. As a professional financial consultant and former caregiver of her husband who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Diahanna perfectly understands the financial issues facing blood cancer patients.

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