Managing Finances

From budgeting for the everyday, to triaging the unexpected and dreaming of the future, there is a lot to consider when building a financial plan. While living with cystic fibrosis may be costly, financial planning can help ease some of the stress you may feel so you can focus on other areas of your life. 

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In this article
Summary
  • Review your insurance options to get the most out of your benefits 
  • Leverage assistance programs available to you to lower the cost of CF care 
  • Check medical bills for accuracy  
  • Ask for help when you need it to meet other needs 

Living with CF can be expensive. Piled on top of everything you do every day to try to stay healthy, you may find it hard this month to pay rent. Or you have a new bill you just don’t know how you’ll cover. Maybe you’re thinking about making some changes in your life but are worried about how you’ll pay for any of it.  

Financial stress doesn’t look the same for every person with CF, or every family, but you’re not alone. Managing finances is doable when you tackle it step by step, starting with the cost of CF care. Learn more about what you can do to manage your finances. 

Insurance Coverage 

First, if you do not have health insurance, find out what your options are. You could qualify for savings that put low or no-cost plans in reach. Or you may be eligible for public health insurance like Medicaid or CHIP (the Children's Health Insurance Program). 

If you pay for health insurance (for example, you are covered through an employer’s group plan or the Health Insurance Marketplace), think about the overall cost of your plan, including your monthly premium, your deductible(s), and your out-of-pocket maximum for covered services. Are there lower-cost health insurance options that provide the same coverage, but fit better with your financial situation? If so, you may have a chance to switch plans during your next Open Enrollment or a Special Enrollment Period. There may also be financial assistance available to you (sometimes through state-based or diagnosis-specific programs) to help with the cost of premiums.   

Next, think about how much are you paying for your medications, care center visits, devices, or hospital stays. Are your providers in network? Have you met your plan’s criteria for covering a medication? When you know the details of your health plan, you can maximize your plan’s coverage. 

Medical Expenses 

All those copays for treatments that are covered by insurance can add up. The same goes for vitamins and supplements. There may be resources available to you to help with your out-of-pocket costs for treatments. 

 A high medical bill can catch anyone off guard, but you have options if you think your bill isn’t correct or if you can’t pay it right away.  

Start with the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) that is sent to you from your insurance company often before you get your bill. Is your plan covering your services the way you thought? If not, you may have an option to appeal. Keep in mind an EOB may not reflect final out-of-pocket costs, so when the actual bill comes, review the statement carefully to make sure the charges are correct. If something doesn’t add up, speak up. 

Ultimately, if everything checks out, but you just can’t pay a medical bill right now, contact the provider (like your hospital) as soon as possible. There may be a way to reduce what you owe, set up a payment plan, or apply for financial assistance from the institution or other foundation grant programs. Asking is the first step. 

Life Needs

Odds are CF isn’t the only thing happening in your life right now. Think about all your expenses outside of CF like rent, food, utilities, college, day care, and transportation. If you are worried about making ends meet, or have fallen behind, there may be organizations or programs that can help.  

You may be eligible for programs like SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), or transportation to medical appointments. It can be hard to ask for help, but figuring out what benefits you are eligible for can help you stretch your budget, and sometimes just applying can get you connected to additional help from local programs. 

Get Help with Financial Challenges

Your financial planning journey may be unique to you, but you are not alone. Need some help along the way? Talk to your CF care team or give CF Foundation Compass a call at 844-COMPASS (844-266-7277) to get personalized information and resource referrals. 

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Topics
Managing Finances | Patient Assistance
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