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There’s one more “late effect” for leukemia survivors that can have a big impact on your future health: problems with health insurance. If you already have health insurance, you may face reduced coverage options and higher rates after your treatment. If you are uninsured, your past medical history could keep you from obtaining health insurance.
The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and other research groups have found that survivors are much less likely to have health insurance, and are more likely to face difficulties in obtaining insurance than similar people without cancer in their past. And yet, health insurance is essential for survivors who may need follow-up care, including care for late effects of their treatment.
Health insurance issues can vary with your age, your employer, and your past insurance record. If you already have insurance and are facing problems with your coverage, it’s always a good idea to speak with your employer or insurer first to see what can be done to restore your coverage or lower your rates. If you have been denied by coverage by health insurance companies due to your survivor status, or if you are have trouble resolving a dispute with your current insurer, the following nonprofit agencies might be able to help:
CancerCare offers a Reading Room with information on insurance for cancer survivors, and some financial assistance programs for survivors.
The Patient Advocate Foundation can help survivors work with insurers and employers on coverage appeals and bill payments.
The Kaiser Family Foundation offers a free guide to handling insurance disputes with your health care plan or employer, including a checklist for understanding your coverage and the details of appealing a coverage decision.