Living with mesothelioma cancer means confronting your financial situation and realizing you probably will need assistance to pay your normal bills. The disease of mesothelioma cancer can drastically change your finances. You will be responsible for new, unexpected costs, and if you are still working you likely will need to find ways to live without the full income from your job.
The biggest expense coming your way will be a share of medical bills. Even with good medical insurance, some expenses will not be covered.
The number and amounts of these new costs can come as a surprise. They can also add up quickly. To help get as much financial assistance as you can, it's a good idea to track your new expenses. That allows you to document the help you will want.
Financial assistance, however, is only available to you for a limited time after receiving your cancer diagnosis. It is important to decide early which types of assistance you are interested in pursuing. A qualified mesothelioma attorney can help. Your attorney will discuss your options and aid you in seeking compensation from any resource available.
Two Categories of Financial Assistance
Your financial assistance options can be separated into two categories: general assistance and specific assistance. Here are the guidelines for each category:
|General Assistance||Specific Assistance|
|Who is eligible?||Anyone with a serious illness||Mesothelioma patients|
|What are some examples?||Insurance, workers compensation||Mesothelioma trust funds, lawsuit settlements, lawsuit verdicts|
|How long does it take to receive compensation?||May take up to several months||May take years|
|How much compensation can I expect?||Generally determined by amount of medical expenses||Generally determined by amount of medical and other expenses. Can be significantly more than general assistance.|
Specific Assistance for Mesothelioma Patients
Financial assistance is often available specifically for mesothelioma patients and their families. These types of assistance can be used to cover all your new expenses, including medical bills.
Unlike most cancers, mesothelioma almost always can be traced to a specific cause: asbestos exposure. In most cases, mesothelioma can even be traced back to a specific company or companies that exposed the public to asbestos despite the known dangers. In these situations, the company knowingly risked your health and safety in order to make a profit, and you deserve compensation for your suffering.
There are various types of mesothelioma claims that may apply to your situation. A mesothelioma attorney can explain your options and help you file the appropriate claim for your circumstances.
Mesothelioma Trust Funds
Many companies that previously manufactured asbestos-containing products have declared bankruptcy. In some situations, bankruptcy courts have ordered the establishment of trust funds to provide compensation to mesothelioma patients. A mesothelioma lawyer can help you determine whether the company responsible for your injuries has a trust fund and, if so,can help you file a claim.
If you were exposed to asbestos while in the military, you may be able to file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).Filing VA claims can be confusing, so it is best to speak with a mesothelioma attorney to better understand the process and consider your options.You can also contact the Veterans Assistance Department at Asbestos.com or call (800) 615-2270 for free assistance with filing a claim.
A mesothelioma lawsuit usually provides the greatest opportunity to receive the maximum amount of compensation for your expenses and suffering. Both mesothelioma patients and relatives of patients who have died can file lawsuits against the companies responsible for asbestos exposure. A mesothelioma lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit and can handle the entire case process.
Most cases settle before a judge or jury makes a decision.If you are offered a settlement, your lawyer can help you decide if the settlement amount is fair, or if you should continue to trial.
If your case goes to trial, it may take several months or years to resolve. However, if you are very ill, your lawyer can ask the court to speed up your case.
If you win your lawsuit, you will probably be awarded compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are meant to cover actual expenses and losses. The amount will reflect lost income, medical costs, counseling expenses and other actual economic losses. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the defendant. This amount usually depends on how offensive a jury finds the defendant’s behavior. Although every case is different, some total lawsuit awards can reach several million dollars.
You will likely start receiving payments a few months after a favorable ruling.You may receive your award as one lump sum or as several payments over time. However, the defendant may choose to appeal the judgment. In this case, your award may be delayed or the amount may be altered.
General Types of Assistance
In addition to specific assistance, mesothelioma patients often can take advantage of general types of assistance. These programs are designed to help anyone with a serious illness and are not limited to mesothelioma patients.
Private Health Insurance
Health insurance can help offset expenses. If you already have insurance, review your out-of pocket deductible and co-pay amounts, as well as any limits on coverage under your plan.
If you receive benefits through your employer's group health insurance plan and are unable to return to work, your employer will usually stop paying for your health insurance.You can continue your coverage for a limited period of time, but your premium will cost more. Review your insurance documents, get more information from your insurer and talk with your human resources manager.
If you do not already have health insurance, you may not be able to get new coverage for your mesothelioma treatment. Health insurers usually do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, so you may be ineligible once you have already been diagnosed.
Medicare and Medicaid
You may be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid benefits. These government programs offer health care benefits for eligible senior citizens, people with disabilities and people with limited income. For more information about eligibility requirements and coverage under these programs, contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
If you have long-term disability insurance, you may be able to receive a monthly payment equal to a percentage of your salary. Usually, this is only available if you will be away from work for at least six months. You will normally have to submit paperwork, including documentation from your doctor verifying your disability, so your insurer can determine if you are eligible for benefits.
It usually takes one to four months to start receiving benefits.Taxes may be deducted from your monthly payment, depending on the type of policy you purchased.Your policy may also limit how long you can receive benefits.
Review your insurance documents and contact your insurance company for more information.If you receive benefits under your employer’s group plan, your human resources manager may also be able to answer questions.
Like health insurance, if you do not already have long-term disability coverage when you are diagnosed, you may not be eligible for a new policy.
Social Security Disability Payments
If you are unable to work due to your illness, you can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.You may qualify to receive a disability determination within days, but it usually takes several months to apply for and begin receiving benefits.The Compassionate Allowances program allows patients with certain serious diseases, including pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, to apply for benefits under a fast-track process.
The workers' compensation claim process can be complicated and there is no guarantee that you will receive benefits.You may have a better chance of receiving the compensation you need by filing a lawsuit against the company or companies responsible for your asbestos exposure.A mesothelioma attorney can help you make your decision and file the type of claim you choose.
Assistance may be available in your local community. Some organizations provide grants to help families with transportation, lodging, food and other out-of-pocket costs that arise during treatment.There may also be volunteers in your community who can help you with errands, transportation and other caregiving duties.Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society or another cancer support group for more information about the resources available in your community.
Regardless of the types of claims you file, it will likely take at least a few months to receive any payment.During this time,you will be responsible for doctor, hospital and prescription bills. You will also discover unexpected expenses related to your illness, many of which will not be covered by health insurance.
It is important to track all of these expenses that are related to your mesothelioma. If you are unsure of what to record, think about how your illness has changed your daily lifestyle and your budget. All of this information can help your attorney pursue your claim and can help you receive fair and adequate compensation.
Frequent transportation to and from medical providers can become costly.Only a select number of doctors specialize in mesothelioma care, so you will most likely have to travel some distance to visit your specialist.As your treatment progresses, you may become too weak to travel frequently. As a result, you and your loved ones may need to pay for temporary housing near your medical provider. There will also be food and other incidental costs for your family while you travel.
Costs of Daily Living Assistance
At home, you may need help handling things you used to do on your own. This may include cooking, cleaning, yard work, general maintenance and even caring for yourself and relatives.You may need to hire someone to help you.
Health Insurance Premiums
You will need to maintain your health insurance.If you are unable to return to work, you may lose your job, and the cost of your insurance premium may increase.
You may decide to take advantage of alternative therapies, such as massage therapy,to relieve your symptoms.Your health insurance may not cover these costs.