According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. While it’s a sobering statistic, it’s also an important reminder to prepare for the possibility of cancer, especially financially. After all, money shouldn’t be a barrier to getting cancer treatment, let alone any other kind of medical aid.
Additionally, in the event of a positive cancer diagnosis, having a framework to organise your money in place already can help you focus your energy on what really matters—recovery. With that said, here are some key steps to make your treatment as smooth as possible.
Get checked regularly
Beating cancer from a financial standpoint can start even before you get diagnosed. Regular health examinations are the best way to identify issues early and nip them in the bud while they’re easier to treat. In fact, detecting cancer early not only improves your odds of beating it by up to 95% (according to the World Health Organization), but can also make treatment less invasive, reduce treatment time and subsequently, make the entire process more affordable.
“Beating cancer from a financial standpoint can start before you even get diagnosed.”
A good rule of thumb: Get a full physical exam done every 3 years if you’re below the age of 50 and annually if you’re 50 or older.
Be covered—and know your plan
Having solid cancer coverage as part of your insurance plan can take a lot of the financial burden off you and your family. A good idea is to always keep an up-to-date copy of your plan’s basic information handy for reference. This should tell you all you need to know; including how your plan works, the benefits, and how to file a claim. For example, you can find all the details on the A-Life Beyond Critical Care plan, including the list of 180 critical illness conditions covered on the website and brochure.
It’s vital to stay on top of your premiums, if you have your own individual plan. By doing so, you can avoid the additional stress of having to catch up with a large payment all at once.
It’s also important to know if your current coverage is sufficient and you can do this by just answering a few questions in our Financial Health Check.
Understand the costs
Even if you’re covered, it’s important to be aware of how much your treatment will cost from the start. This can vary based on a number of things.
Firstly, where you live and where you choose to get treated can play a big factor in your medical bills. For example, medical treatment in the Klang Valley tends to cost more than treatment in other parts of Malaysia and it also depends on whether the hospital is private or government-run.
The type of cancer you have can also affect the cost of treatment. Some are simpler to treat than others, while others may require complex procedures. The type of medicines you opt for during your treatment also play a role. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generic brand medicines that do the same thing. Over the entire treatment process, those costs can add up.
With all that said, do remember that your insurance plan will list what falls within coverage and what doesn’t, so if in doubt, check your plan details with your Life Planner. Having an idea of how much the entire process may cost and how much is covered by your insurance will help you budget on a month-to-month basis.
“With all that said, do remember that your insurance plan will list what falls within coverage and what doesn’t, so if in doubt, check your plan details with your Life Planner.”
Keeping your finances in order is important at the best of times and doubly so when you’re in the middle of a critical life event. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you should begin building a system for tracking and organising your medical bills and insurance statements.
The best system will be the one that works for you, but here are some tips:
- Store your medical updates and paperwork in one place
Having everything in one spot will make it easier to track everything and help you spot any billing discrepancies. If you’re receiving physical papers, store them in a single folder. If you’ve opted for digital updates, download them and store them in a folder on your computer. Remember to make a backup on an external drive too.
- Organise your bills and statements
Once everything is in one place, break them down further by sorting communications on a monthly or quarterly basis. Alternatively, you can sort them by type. Doing this will help you during the claims process.
- Consider opening a new email account
To streamline your treatment-related communications, it might be a good idea to open an email account specifically for corresponding with your hospital and your insurance company.
Closing the chapter on cancer
To conclude, cancer can be a life-altering event, from your health to your finances, and even your outlook on life. Rest assured though that with planning and preparation, you can take the financial stress of treatment out of the equation and look ahead to recovery and a long, healthy, happy life.