I had four types of insurance when I got sick: traditional major medical, disability insurance, a supplement hospitalization bridge policy and cancer insurance. The major medical stepped right in and picked up my medical bills as expected. With the other two insurance companies, getting the benefits weren’t as easy.

My cancer policy had an initial benefit rider, where a specified dollar amount is paid upon diagnosis. All I had to do was provide a copy of the biopsy report confirming the presence of cancer, and the benefit was paid. That one was easy enough. I also had benefits for chemotherapy treatments, nausea medications, prostheses devices, and so on. If you do not have cancer, but are high risk (i.e. a strong family history), I strongly recommend getting this type of policy with an initial benefit rider and a rider where the policy will pay for itself in the event of disability. The benefits level I had (which was a level II policy), ran about $30 a month. The benefit checks, however, really came in handy to cover copays, deductibles, coinsurance payments, and the other expenses you have that come along with treatment. This policy has been a financial lifesaver. In order to file a claim for chemotherapy treatments, I submitted a copy of the itemized statement (bill) from my doctor’s office I received each month. Submitting a claim on the nausea meds was easy, too. The meds received via IV were on the itemized doctor’s bill. For the ones I got from the pharmacy, I would request an itemized statement each month from my pharmacy, which listed all the prescriptions I had filled each month. My policy had a $40 per day limit, and a $160 per month limit, so if needed, I would have my nausea meds filled on different days to maximize the benefit.  

My disability policy picked up from the beginning of me not being able to work full time and began filling the gap. The fewer hours I could work, the more the policy began to pay.  I received Short Term Disability benefits for six months, and then the policy converted to Long Term Disability. I simply had to fax my time sheet in each week, and I would receive a check the following week. Once I went on full time leave, I had to submit some additional paperwork verifying my full time leave status, and that was it. Disability insurance replaces 60% of your standard paycheck. Although it isn’t 100%, when you combine it with the benefits from the cancer policy, it is almost enough to make the ends meet.  

My other policy, the hospitalization bridge policy, paid a benefit every time I had a surgery or was hospitalized for at least 23 hours. The benefits ranged from $500-$1000 dollars depending on the procedure I was having done. In order to file a benefit, I had to submit a copy of the surgical report and a copy of the itemized hospital bill. The check came about two weeks later. Be sure to read your policy when you receive it so you know what is covered and what is not. Some procedures may be covered that you do not expect to be. These benefits were great when it came to covering my annual deductible and out of pocket max for the year.  

Insurance isn’t a fun thing to talk about, or to pay for, but when you have cancer, it can be critical to helping you survive financially. There are a lot of extra expenses that come with the illness. These insurance policies are the only way I survived financially.

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