Cancer Treatment Side Effects – Foods That Help

If you have cancer, you know the treatment has side effects. Some say the cure is worse than the disease. Pain, nausea, fatigue, anemia. So how do you deal with cancer treatment side effects?cancer treatment side effects

Food can help.

Seriously.

Your doctor may prescribe medications to help you cope with the side effects but you might also want to consider items you already have in your pantry.

Having cancer is bad enough. At least you can do something to alleviate the discomfort that comes with the treatment.

 

Cancer Treatment Side Effects

The American Cancer Society website documents the side effects of cancer treatment and classifies each by treatment. If you have cancer, or know someone who does, the link above may help. Here are just a few of the topics addressed on that page.Cancer dealing with side effects

  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • Radiation therapy side effects
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Sexual side effects
  • Coping with the disease and the treatment

In addition to medication prescribed by your doctor to deal with the side effects, you may want to consider natural ways to cope.

 

Foods That Help

The natural inclination for many is to turn to medicine to help deal with the problems in curing your cancer. But you may also want to consider nutritional changes in your diet.

Eating may be the last thing on your mind, but at least consider how eating the RIGHT food can help.

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute recently published Recipes for Recovery. Below are just a few of the food recipes in their article.

  • Banana milkshake to boost your appetite
  • Apple and prune sauce for constipation
  • Fruit and cream to relieve problems with a sore mouth

You might also want to Google “foods that combat cancer treatment side effects” and “recipes for cancer patients”. Here are a few links to get you started. “Diet for cancer treatment side effects” and “Diet and Nutrition During Treatment“.

Finding the right combination that works for you may involve trial and error. But don’t give up.

 

Does Medicare Cover Cancer Treatment?

If you are on Medicare you probably wonder what is covered and what isn’t. If you have original Medicare and a supplement plan, you have the best coverage available. With Medigap plan F, G or N your out of pocket for treatment will be minimal. Roughly 90% of my clients own plan G, a few have F and the balance opted for plan N.cancer treatment side effects

Medicare supplement plan N includes some of the cost sharing in Advantage plans but with a lot less out of pocket exposure. Doctor copay’s are capped at $20 regardless of whether you see a general practitioner or specialist.

Any claim approved by Medicare is also approved by your Medigap carrier, no questions asked. Here is what Medicare covers when you have cancer treatment.

You can use Google to find “Does Medicare Cover Cancer Treatment” but here are a few articles we found helpful.

One of my clients recently asked abut Medicare and Mental Health coverage. Her treatment is working and her bills are being paid by Medicare and her supplement plan, but she wanted therapy to deal with the stress of cancer.

The CMS Mental Health Services Booklet is a bit technical but provides a lot of detail on mental health treatment. This link to Medicare Coverage of Outpatient Mental Health Services might be easier reading.

Clients of Georgia Medicare Plans know they can always rely on us for solid advice, the best Medigap rates in Georgia, and quick answers to their Medicare questions.

If you found this article, Cancer Treatment Side Effects – Recipes for Recovery helpful, please share this link.

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Does Medicare Cover My Cancer Treatment?

Does Medicare Part B cover my cancer screening and treatment? How about chemotherapy and radiation therapy? How much will I have to pay for my cancer treatment? Does Medicare cover the rest? How can I get help paying my medical bills?

From a purely financial perspective, most people with original Medicare and a supplement (Medigap) plan will not have to worry about how they will pay for the cost of cancer treatment. Most Medigap plans cover 100% of your hospital inpatient (Medicare Part A) expenses and the bulk of your Part B outpatient care.

That’s not the case with Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Cover Cancer Treatment?

Your out of pocket costs for cancer treatment with an Advantage plan can run several hundred or even thousands of dollars each year. If your treatment includes chemotherapy, you are generally responsible for 20% of the cost. Your plan picks up the balance.

If you are turning 65 and going on Medicare, this may be your only chance to pick a Medigap plan. Choose wisely.

Medicare shop and compare

Your information is NEVER sold. We are happy to discuss options by phone and will give you an

instant quote for the absolute lowest Medigap rate in your area. There is never any pressure to buy.

Post summary.

  • How common is cancer?
  • Will Medicare pay for treatment from ANY doctor?
  • How much will I pay for chemo?
  • Is cancer screening covered by Medicare?
  • Medicare Advantage or original Medicare and a supplement plan? Which is better?

Medicare Coverage for Cancer Treatment

The American Cancer Society tells us that more than half the 1.4 million new cancer diagnoses occur in people age 65 and older. Roughly 20% of retiree deaths are a result of cancer. Medicare pays for almost half of the $74 billion spent on cancer treatment. The elderly account for 70% of cancer deaths each year.cancer treatment

Original Medicare covers about 80% of your cost of care. Most Medigap plans will pick up the remainder. You can pick your own doctor(s), hospital and treatment center and a referral is never required.

Not all cancers require or even respond to chemotherapy, but there are some things you should know about the cost of chemo.

Cancer Medication

Medicare does not pay for most prescription drugs but it does cover chemotherapy. Roughly 80% of cancer patients receive chemotherapy in their doctors office or other outpatient setting. You can easily end up in the Medicare Part D donut hole if you are not careful.

Original Medicare pays for 80% of the cost of chemotherapy. Medigap plans F, G and N pick up the remaining 20%.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan you pay the 20% out of pocket.

The average price of cancer drugs for a year is estimated to exceed $100,000.

Even if you have health insurance, your out-of-pocket expenses may be as much as $25,000 to $30,000 a year – Mayo Clinic

Your share of these expensive medications is reduced to almost nothing with original Medicare and a supplement plan.

The American Cancer Society estimates the average out of pocket cost for cancer treatment ranges from $3500 to $4800, depending on the type of cancer you have.

Medicare and Cancer Screening

Medicare does cover many routine screenings for cancer. “Free” cancer screenings with Medicare include:

  • Cervical and vaginal cancers
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Other types of cancer screening are covered under Medicare Part B and may require a small charge or copay depending on the type of plan you have.

Notes from the American Cancer Society

Medicare coverage for breast cancer screening

One screening mammogram every 12 months is fully covered for all women with Medicare age 40 and older. You can get one baseline mammogram between ages 35 and 39, too. Medicare also covers newer digital mammograms.

cancer screeningOriginal Medicare coverage for cervical cancer testing

Medicare covers one Pap test and pelvic exam every 24 months if you are at average risk for cervical cancer. If you’re at high risk for cervical or vaginal cancer or are of childbearing age and have had an abnormal Pap test in the last 3 years, the tests are covered every 12 months.

You pay nothing for the Pap lab test or for collecting the Pap test and the pelvic exam, as long as your doctor accepts assignment from Medicare. As part of the pelvic exam, Medicare covers a clinical breast exam to check for breast cancer.

Medicare coverage for colorectal cancer testing

Medicare covers colorectal screening tests in people 50 and older to help find colon or rectal cancer and/or pre-cancerous polyps (growths in the colon) so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Coverage for these tests depends on the person’s risk for colorectal cancer, when they had their last test, and whether something is found that needs to be removed during the test.

Medicare coverage for prostate cancer testing

For men over age 50 with Medicare, one digital rectal exam (DRE) and one prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test are covered every 12 months. This coverage starts the day after your 50th birthday.

Medicare coverage for lung cancer testing

Medicare covers lung cancer screening with a low dose CT scan once per year if you have Medicare, are 55-77 years old, have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack years*, and you either continue to smoke or you have quit smoking within the last 15 years.

Need Help Paying Medical Bills?

There are several resources that can help cover the gaps when it comes to paying medical bills.

This list is by no means complete. If you know of a resource that should be added, please let us know.

Cancer Treatment, the Final Word

I enrolled in Medicare in September, 2015. Cancer is a word I know too well. My mothers twin sister and older sister died of cancer. My wife’s father and mother died because of cancer. All 5 of my father-in-laws siblings died of cancer. Two of my mother-in-laws siblings died of cancer.

I have seen what cancer can do to the human body and the misery that accompanies this dread illness. If you are diagnosed with cancer, the last thing on your mind should not be “How will I pay for my treatment?”

Currently my health is good. That has been true for most of my life. No chronic illness, not even high blood pressure or cholesterol.

But having spent the last 40 years in the health insurance business I know how quickly things can change. When my health changes I want to control the direction of my care. Insurance carriers are not going to give me a list of doctors and tell me this year I can only use these, and next year the list may change.

Beware of Excess Chargescancer

I am in original Medicare plus Medigap plan N.

You may not know it, but the Mayo Clinic does not participate in MOST Medicare Advantage plans.

M D Anderson is another cancer treatment facility that does not accept MOST Medicare Advantage plans.

A study from the Medicare Rights discovered the number one reason for disenrolling from a Medicare Advantage plan was “provider access problems”. Number 4 on the list was “cost sharing too high”.

You may never receive a cancer diagnosis. I hope you don’t. But one thing I can tell you with certainty is this. Original Medicare and a supplement plan provides assurance the funds will be there to pay for almost all of your care.

We have rates on over 240 different Medigap plans in Georgia. We will quote you a rate over the phone and tell you who has the lowest rate.

More than that, there is no charge for our advice. No pressure. No “up-selling”.

You can also shop and compare online Medigap quotes instantly.

Medicare shop and compare

One other thing.

You don’t need a separate cancer insurance plan or a hospital plan. You can sleep well at night knowing the cost of your cancer treatment is covered in full.

Also see:

How Much Does it Cost to Treat Cancer

Cancer Treatment Resources

The Secret Life of Medicare Advantage Plans

#Medicare #CancerTreatment #Chemotherapy #MedicareAdvantage #MedicareSupplement

The Secret Life of Medicare Advantage Plans

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Medicare Advantage plans have a secret life. The carrier won’t tell you. Neither will the agent. If you knew these secrets you secret life of walter mittymight change your mind about signing up for one. Consider this. Why does if Medicare Advantage plans are so great, why does Medicare give you an escape clause? Why do some agents that sell you on the idea of an Advantage plan tell you to throw away your red, white and blue Medicare card? Why do agents push Medicare Advantage plans so much? Is there something you need to know that they aren’t telling? Do these Advantage plans really have a secret life? And how can they push these Free Medicare Plans? What’s the catch? Why is turning 65 so difficult when it comes to Medicare?

Have you already decided that original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan are right for you? We have access to over 170 different Medigap plans from more than 30 carriers. We will freely share information on any plan you want, no obligation.

Want to take a peek at GA Medigap quotes? Click the image below.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Post summary.

  • Turning 65 and signing up for Medicare. How?
  • How good are the free Medicare plans?
  • Why do most agents push $0 premium Advantage plans?
  • How do I get out of the Advantage plan when I realize I made a mistake?
  • Why can’t I keep my doctor?

Medicare Advantage plans secret life

Wanda is turning 65 in a few weeks and is totally confused. Should she stay on her husband’s group insurance plan or go in Medicare? Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan? And what’s up with this free Medicare plan a lot of her friends have?

lady pensiveWanda was referred to me by a dear friend. The two of them had lunch earlier in the day and Wanda told Emily (our mutual friend) that she was turning 65 in a few days and totally confused.

Emily mentioned my name and then emailed me with a copy to Wanda. I called Wanda shortly after responding to the email.

Wanda’s husband works for a big company in Atlanta. They have a very good group health plan through his employer. The plan covers Wanda, her husband and their youngest child. The company pays all but $600/month for health insurance, vision and dental coverage.

Wanda has not signed up for Medicare.

After a short phone conversation I told Wanda what she needed to do.

  • Go online today and sign up for Medicare Part A only.
  • Keep the group plan, at least for now.
  • Do not sign up (yet) for Medicare Part B, Part D or a supplement plan.
  • Throw away all the literature that has been coming in for the last few months.
  • Stop talking to your friends.
  • Forget about the free Medicare plans agents are pushing
  • Call me when your situation changes and you are ready to go on Medicare Part B

That’s it. No sales pitch. No arm twisting. Just an honest appraisal of the situation and advice.

But what about the secret life of Medicare plans?

Read on.

 

Why do your friends sign up for a “free” Medicare plan?

Well, it’s pretty simple. They signed up for a “free” plan because somebody talked them into it.huckster

If someone tells you something is free, don’t you get suspicious? Have you ever received anything of value that was truly free? Isn’t there always a catch?

Here is the first catch.

Medicare does not allow an agent to tell you their Advantage plan is free. If they do say that, they are violating the CMS marketing rules.

$0 premium Medicare plans are not free.

  • You still have to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • You are not allowed to use your red, white and blue Medicare card.
  • Every time you see a doctor, have lab work, a scan, are admitted to the hospital you have to pay.
  • If you want to keep your out of pocket costs to a minimum you must use THEIR doctors and hospitals.
  • Your out of pocket costs could easily exceed $500 per month under an Advantage plan.
  • And if these plans are so great, why does Medicare allow you to dis-enroll?

 

One Other Thing in the Secret Life of Advantage Plans.

Medicare does not allow agents to tell you about ALL the plans in your area, only the ones they can sell and earn a commission.

The agent can legally only show you one carrier at a time. If you want information on another carrier Medicare rules say they must wait 48 hours before telling you about the other plan. Apparently the folks at Medicare think you are not smart enough to consider more than one plan at a time.

How silly is that?

So why do agents and carriers push Advantage plans?

They are profitable.

An agent that sells you an Advantage plan makes twice as much commission as they would by offering you a Medicare supplement plan. That alone is pretty good incentive but to make it even better they are paid their full years commission the month after your coverage goes into effect.

You sign up in October. Your coverage goes into effect in January. In February your agent collects $400.

Even on that $0 premium plan.

 

No Premium? How Can That Be?

As if that isn’t enough, some agents will tell you how great the Advantage plan is because you only have to pay $250 per day for the first 7 days you are in the hospital.

Then they will tell you that you need a plan to cover that contingency and will proceed to sell you an extra plan for only $38 per month.

The agent pockets 60% of your monthly premium as their compensation. That’s another $274 in commission over the next 12 months.

Next they might ask if cancer runs in your family, or if you know anyone that had cancer.

The good news is your $0 premium plan pays 80% of the cost of your chemotherapy treatment.

The bad new is, you pay the remaining 20%. The worse news is, some chemotherapy treatments run in excess of $3,000 each.

Medicare pays $2400. You pay $600.

For each treatment.

You really should consider a cancer plan to cover that out of pocket cost. For only $40 per month you can have a plan that covers the costs of chemo and pays you a flat $1,000 for your initial diagnosis.

The agent pockets 60% of that premium as well.

Now your $0 premium plan is costing you $78 per month but at least you have your out of pocket costs for a hospital stay covered as well as your chemotherapy.

And the agent made $962.

You should have called me.

For about the same monthly premium you pay nothing for a hospital stay and your chemo is only $147.

Not per treatment but for the entire year!

And you no longer need to pay for a hospital inpatient plan or a cancer plan.

How sweet is that?

 

Your Medicare Escape Clause

If your Medicare Advantage plan is so great, why does Medicare give you an escape provision?escape hatch

That’s right. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and later discover you don’t like it you can quit the plan (Medicare calls it dis-enrolling) and go back to original Medicare. It’s called a Trial Right.

You also have an annual dis-enrollment period that runs from January 1 through February 14.

All these ways to QUIT a Medicare Advantage plan. Is it any wonder why it is called the secret life of Advantage plans?

Of course if your agent told you to throw away your red, white and blue Medicare card you will need to get Medicare to send you a new one.

Don’t expect the agent that sold you the Advantage plan, and the hospital plan and the cancer plan to tell you that you can always change to original Medicare if you don’t like the Advantage. Your Trial Right is just another part of the secret life of Advantage plans.

As long as we are talking about secrets, here are some things you need to know.

  • Your Trial Right period doesn’t last forever
  • Your Trial Right may entitle you to purchase ANY Medigap plan.
  • Or you may be limited to only certain plans pre-selected by Medicare
  • Unless you exercise your trial right correctly you may have to go without drug coverage until the next open enrollment
  • Your annual dis-enrollment period comes with some barbs.

When you first turn 65, if you reject original Medicare for an Advantage plan that may be the only time you could enroll in a Medicare supplement plan without restriction.

Choose wisely.

The Medicare Advantage Convenience Factor

Mangled Care

Did you ever wonder how the insurance company can offer you coverage and not charge a premium but still pay the agent over $400 for enrolling you?

It’s a secret.

mangled careManaged care has been part of the fabric of health insurance for 30 years now but too often managed care becomes mangled care. When an insurance company bureaucrat that knows nothing about you or your medical condition decides on your care the outcome is mangled care.

When you reject original Medicare the government pays the insurance carrier a monthly fee to cover some of your expenses. The less THEY pay for your care the more money they get to keep.

When you are diagnosed with cancer ….

  • THEY get to pick your doctor
  • THEY pick your hospital
  • THEY decide which treatment is best for you based on the lowest cost to THEM
  • THEY pay 80% of your chemotherapy (the same amount Medicare pays) and you pay the remaining 20%

Original Medicare does not have mangled care. With original Medicare and your red, white and blue card

  • YOU pick your doctor
  • YOU pick your hospital
  • YOU and your doctor decide which treatment is best for you

Original Medicare pays 80% of the cost of your chemo but with your supplement plan your share is $0 if you have plan F or $183 for the entire year if you have plan G.

One other thing about Advantage plans.

Depending on where you live there may be anywhere from 3 to a dozen Advantage plans available.

  • But your agent can only tell you about the plans he or she is approved to sell.
  • If you want to find out about ALL the plans you have to talk to more agents
  • Each agents can only tell you about the plans they are approved to sell
  • Your agent is not allowed to compare one plan vs. the other

Agents will never tell you this (but I will), you can find out about ALL the plans in your area by calling Medicare. That’s part of the secret life of Medicare Advantage plans. Agents can’t tell you about all the plans in your area.

 

Would you like to see rates on Medicare supplement plans?

We have access to over 240 different plans in Georgia.

We can discuss the benefits and rates of every plan.

You can see plans online and get instant GA Medigap Quotes by following this link.

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

Georgia Medigap plans & Prices

If you call us we will offer rate reports and side by side benefit comparisons for any plan offered in Georgia.

We charge nothing for our advice. You get the benefit of my 40 years in the industry at no cost.

I will answer all your questions. Offer advice and let you decide which plan meets your needs and budget.

No risk.

No pressure.

No tricks.

No secret life.

No agenda.

Give us a call. We want to help.

 

#MedicareAdvantagePlans #MedicareTrialRight #MedicareSupplementPlan #Medigap