No one wants to face the possibility of a scary health condition. But unfortunately, the possibility of a cancer diagnosis is a situation that many Americans face. In fact, one in three women and one in every two men are diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes. And while this medical scenario is one that can impact patients of any age, approximately 87% of all individuals diagnosed with cancer are older than 50.

If you’ve invested in healthcare coverage for many years, you might assume that the majority of any costs related to your cancer diagnosis will be covered by your policy. Even for the 60 million Americans who rely on Medicare for their health insurance coverage will find that their policies come up short.

For one thing, 60% of cancer costs are actually non-medical expenses. From alternative treatments to expenses associated with travel, lodging, and additional home help, patients and their families are often forced to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for cancer-associated costs. In many situations, your current policy or even the best Medicare supplement plans may not provide any financial relief.

Data shows that out-of-pocket cancer costs for individuals with Medicaid coverage might average $2,116. For those with Medicare supplement plans, out-of-pocket costs for cancer expenses average out to $5,670. And for those with only Original Medicare — which simply doesn’t cover a number of prescription medications, cancer treatments, and other medical costs associated with cancer diagnoses — costs can be truly exorbitant; on average, a person with cancer might be required to pay $8,115 out of pocket for costs associated with their diagnosis.

It’s important to note that Original Medicare does cover some important costs related to cancer treatment. However, there’s often a big financial difference between those covered only by Original Medicare and those who choose to bolster their coverage with Medicare supplement plans. A Medigap insurance plan can help to supplement your existing coverage and make cancer-related costs more manageable. What’s more, independent Medicare supplement insurance agents won’t deny your application — even with a pre-existing condition — as long as you enroll during the Medigap Open Enrollment period. That means you’ll more easily be able to obtain essential coverage for treatments related to your diagnosis.

Keep in mind that even if you have both Original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan, your policies won’t cover prescription medications. Moreover, you’ll be limited to seeking treatment at facilities that accept Original Medicare (and, by extension, your Medicare supplement plan). Medicare, as well as many other insurance plans, won’t cover long-term nursing home care, nutritional supplements, or wigs for cancer patients. And while there’s a lot that may be covered, you should also expect to pay out-of-pocket for certain treatments and other non-medical expenses associated with your cancer diagnosis.

Although this system is far from perfect, the best course of action for many cancer patients is to supplement their Original Medicare coverage with a Medigap plan. For more information on the options for coverage available to you, please contact Fulmer Insurance Group today.