6 Lessons Learned from a Two-Time Cancer Survivor
I am proud to say that I am a two-time survivor. Going through treatment for cancer is hard, but I also faced the challenge of getting my medical care at Roswell Park covered by my health insurance. If I can help even one patient learn from my experience, then this will be a success.
In 2002, I was first diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which required a blood and marrow transplant (BMT). Then in 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. While undergoing treatment, I quickly found out that my Roswell Park doctors were in-network while the Institute was considered out-of-network.
I literally spent hours on the phone trying unsuccessfully to get my insurer to cover my cancer care at Roswell Park. I eventually decided to switch to a different insurance plan that covered the care I needed at Roswell Park. I learned some things along the way, and I want to share those lessons with you.
This is the time of year called open enrollment where you can enroll in a health insurance plan of your choice. As you consider your options, here are some things to consider.
- You don’t know what your future holds. I know you don’t want to think about a diagnosis of cancer, but it’s better to be prepared now should you ever hear the words, “you have cancer.”
- Understand your insurance plan and the level of access it gives you to Roswell Park services.
- Do your own research so that you know what care is covered by your insurance.
- Make sure you have full access to Roswell Park care, from the doctors to the services offered.
- Don’t hesitate to use the resources available at Roswell Park. They have financial counselors, patient advocates, and social workers ready to help you every step of the way.
- Be your own advocate. Fight for the quality of care you deserve.
I hope my experience can help you avoid the same issues and stress I had to deal with while fighting my cancer battle. Please ask for help – there are so many people willing to help so you can focus on what is important – YOU!