I was astounded by the recent report from Harvard and Ohio University which found that medical bills are involved in more than 60 percent of personal bankruptcies in the US. But even more astounding perhaps, is that 75 percent of those families reported having some form of health insurance!
I recently had the chance to attend the launch of our newest Frankly Speaking About Cancer program: Coping With the Cost of Care. I was amazed by how many times someone in the audience said “I didn’t know that” or “No one ever told me that.” In fact, 83% of attendees reported a high to very high knowledge of the cost of cancer care after the workshop, compared to only 28% before the workshop.
It is critical that we provide patients and families with the tools to manage not only the medical aspects of their disease, but the social, emotional, spiritual and financial aspects of cancer as well. What good is it if patients can’t access all of the latest and greatest treatments and technologies that are coming to market? And how good is the health coverage of so many Americans if those with coverage can’t affords to pay for the out of pocket costs associated with a serious illness like cancer? We can hope that health care reform will address the needs of not only the 47 million uninsured, but the millions more with insurance who are suffering every day.