Quality cancer care includes access to treatment. Learn about the accessibility of care and how to find the support you need to fight lung cancer. When you have lung cancer, having access to high-quality health care is vitally important. Access to care is defined as “the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes.”Health insurance helps people access the
When you have lung cancer, having access to high-quality health care is vitally important. Access to care is defined as “the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes.”
Health insurance helps people access the lung cancer care they need from primary care physicians and cancer care specialists, but it isn’t the only factor that contributes to access. Available transportation and local healthcare resources also contribute to a person’s ability to access care.
Not everyone has health insurance or local healthcare resources, and some people find it difficult to navigate the healthcare system on their own when facing a lung cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, there are programs in America that help ensure everyone has access to affordable, quality cancer care.
This article will discuss what access to care really means, what barriers to accessing care exist, and resources that people with lung cancer can use to get proper medical care.
As a lung cancer patient, access to affordable care ensures you get the treatment you need to improve your prognosis (likely outcome). Research shows that improvements in access to care related to cancer prevention, screening, treatment, and follow-ups can help improve treatment outcomes and increase a person’s overall quality of life.
There are four components of access to care, including:
Many people face barriers that limit or prevent their ability to get the lung cancer care services they need. Individuals who do not have appropriate access to care are less likely to receive preventive care and regular screenings, and are more likely to have poor health outcomes.
There are a number of barriers that people face when seeking lung cancer care, including:
Nearly 70% of Americans say cost is the main barrier to accessing cancer care. A staggering 16% of cancer patients skip doctor appointments to cut back on costs, 9% skip doses of their medications, and 6% refuse treatment due to financial concerns.
Many resources exist for people with lung cancer. These resources provide lung cancer support, including financial assistance, finding suitable treatment options, emotional support, and transportation assistance. An Internet search for “lung cancer support” turns up many options, but the following resources may be a good place to start:
Your lung cancer healthcare team can connect you to resources that provide information and assistance for a variety of lung cancer-related topics. Talk with your healthcare provider, nurse, or oncology social worker to get the support you need.
Access to high-quality, affordable health care is essential when facing a lung cancer diagnosis. Studies show that timely and accessible lung cancer care can help achieve the best possible treatment outcomes and improve your quality of life.
Many people face barriers to accessible lung cancer care, including lack of health insurance, financial concerns, limited healthcare resources, and lack of transportation.
Resources are available to address these barriers to care and provide information as well as financial and emotional support to those who need it.
One of the most important things you can do when living with lung cancer is to become your own advocate. Don’t be afraid to ask for the support you need to fight lung cancer. Remember that you do not have to go through this alone. Many lung cancer organizations, hospitals, and cancer treatment centers provide support as you navigate the healthcare system and go through lung cancer treatments.
Lung cancer screening is generally not free unless you qualify for free or low-cost testing. Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, cover the costs of lung cancer screening. Contact your insurance provider to find out what lung cancer screening tests are covered by your plan.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all health insurance plans to cover essential health benefits, including cancer screening, treatment, and follow-up care. Even with health insurance, you may have out-of-pocket costs related to lung cancer treatment, such as your monthly insurance premium, meeting your deductible, coinsurance, and co-pays.
Financial assistance programs and government-sponsored health insurance plans (e.g., Medicare) are available to those who can demonstrate financial need. In some states, Medicaid covers lung cancer screening for eligible participants. Talk to your healthcare team or contact a local nonprofit cancer organization and ask for referrals or suggestions on getting the financial support you need to help pay for lung cancer treatment.