"Will I Have to Pay For This?" And Other Questions We All Ask About Health Care

HAMPTON, Va., Jan. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Cancer patients nationwide are constantly seeking guidance on how to navigate their treatment options and ensure proper insurance coverage for their pathway of choice. Fortunately, a new publication from the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), Getting the Right Test at the Right Time: A Cancer Patient's Guide to Biomarkers, offers usable tips focusing on real patient questions, including how to access a biomarker test, how to afford treatment and ensure insurance coverage.

"Most biomarker guides focus on the science, which is important but not enough," remarked Erin Bradshaw, Chief of Mission Delivery. "Our focus is on how patients can navigate the healthcare system and feel like they're making an informed decision, asking the right questions and avoiding any unwanted financial surprises."

A biomarker is a biological molecule found in blood or other tissue that can give clues about a cancer's behavior and aggressiveness. They may be used to understand why an initial targeted therapy stopped working and inform what treatment might come next.

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The publication includes a glossary of key terms, an explanation of treatment options (standard treatment, combination therapy or more limited options), and the steps to take while working with your insurance company to ensure coverage. Because the Patient Advocate Foundation specializes in overcoming insurance barriers for patients, their advice here is accessible, useful and rooted in the patient experience.

The guide provides a list of questions for patients to ask their doctors and insurers, not only covering the types of tests a patient may need but also, crucially, questions about financial options and billing. Sample questions include:
  • What are my options if I cannot pay the out-of-pocket costs associated with testing?
  • Will I be billed separately for testing?
  • Will molecular profiling results include any clinical trials that I may be eligible to join?
  • Is the specific biomarker test I am trying to obtain a covered benefit under my plan?

The guide includes accessible explanations, types of testing available to patients as well as the science behind biomarker testing, with the understanding that a patient or caregiver cannot possibly ask the right questions if they don't know the right questions to ask.

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Finally, the guide covers financial resources for patients, both insured and uninsured. Readers are directed to other available resources, such as PAF's guide to the insurance appeals process or potential funding and grants. The guide can be accessed through the Patient Advocate Foundation's website or directly at this link.

Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that offers charitable case management and financial assistance for patients who are diagnosed with chronic, debilitating, or chronic conditions.

Caitlin Donovan, (202) 465-5113, [email protected]

SOURCE Patient Advocate Foundation

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