Medicare & Cancer Treatment
Most cancers (nearly 6 out of 10) are first diagnosed after the age of 65. The common misconception is that if you have Original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement or even a Medicare Advantage plan, everything is covered in full. Those who have been there can tell you that there are several things wrong with that picture.
First, a high percentage (as much as 65%) of the out-of-pocket costs patients and their families face are indirect costs that are not paid by Medicare, a Medicare Supplement, or a Medicare Advantage plan at all. These costs include but are not limited to transportation for out-of-town or even out-of-state treatment, your meals and lodging for your own outpatient treatment, and/or meals and lodging for those accompanying you when you have inpatient care. Cancer treatment is not a simple trip to the local emergency room.
Second, Medicare Advantage plans do not always handle cancer treatment exactly the way Original Medicare does. Some expenses – sometimes huge expenses – that Original Medicare covers can be excluded by Medicare Advantage plans.
Third, some very expensive medications that were covered by Part B of Medicare have been shifted to Part D of Medicare. What this means is that if a person doesn’t have a Prescription Drug Plan, he would suddenly be responsible for 100% of those charges. Even if a person does have a Prescription Drug Plan, the expenses would certainly push the person into the coverage gap (“donut hole”) and through to the catastrophic level.
The bottom line is that medicare-eligible persons should seriously consider purchasing a separate Cancer insurance policy. These plans pay cash benefits directly to the insured, and the person could have the cash flow needed for the mountain of out-of-pocket bills he will most certainly face.