Debt Collectors Are Hunting Half of Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer


Facing metastatic breast cancer is, of course, enough of a struggle before figuring out how to pay for it. Because there is technically no cure for stage four breast cancer, people may be encouraged to try drugs that come with very hefty price tags in order to manage their disease. These are, in some cases, remarkable medications that keep women alive. However, if insurance is unavailable, the price can be financially crippling. Some of these drugs can cost $10,000 per month if you are forced to pay out of pocket.

A researcher named Dr. Stephanie Wheeler, who works at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, found that 49% of metastatic breast cancer patients say they are being housed by collection agencies for past due medical bills related their cancer. Over 1,000 women were surveyed for the study, and about 1/3 of the participants were uninsured. Most of the uninsured patients (90%) said they were contacted by debt collectors, compared to about 1/3 of insured patients. But among both insured and uninsured, nearly 70% of those surveyed said they were distressed about the financial burden of paying for cancer.

The term “financial toxicity” is thrown around by people who work in healthcare, but what can you actually do if you’re faced with paying these really steep cancer bills?

Read the whole article for tips on how to handle if you have health insurance or even if you do not have health insurance.

For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.