Once you have a general picture of what your treatments will cost, you can ask these important questions:
1. Will I be able to get short-termor long-term disability payments? If you’re employed, contact your human resources department. Otherwise, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213, www.SSA.gov
2. What public or private resources will I be able to count on?
See General Resources on page 40 in this guide for information on financial assistance for New Mexicans with cancer. Also, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provide information about patient rights, prescription drugs and health insurance. Contact 800-MEDICARE, www.medicare.gov
3. Where can I cut back expenses, and what other changes can I make so my money lasts through treatment?
Take the time now to set up a realistic monthly budget, looking at all your fixed costs such as housing and car payments, as well as your income and personal expenses. This will give you a good starting point to see the big financial picture.
Setting aside a fewhours a week to review your bills and financial status will give you a realistic picture of your situation and help keep stress at bay. If you can do this with the help of a trusted family member, friend or counselor, it will be a much easier process.
You can work with this simple checklist, and update it as time goes on:
• Add up monthly payments to hospitals, clinics, doctors, radiologists, and others involved in your treatment.
• Note how each of these bills is paid— online or by mail— and when the bills are due.
• List the contact information for the billing person or department for each of these bills.
• Write down the last 4 digits of your social security number and your birthdate, as these are often required when you contact billing departments.
• Write down the debit or credit card number used for payment, as well as the PIN number that goes along with it. Make sure that a family member or trusted friend knows where the debit/credit cards are kept in case they need to access them when you cannot do so.
• List any public or private financial help you are getting, along with the contact names and phone numbers.
• Finally, review your monthly budget to see where you are on track and where you need to make adjustments.
Visit healthcare.gov/glossary/ for a list of helpful terms
Be assured that you can turn to us at First Mortgage to assist with your financial home loan needs.”
ANNETTE ALVAREZ, SENIOR LOAN OFFICER, FIRST MORTGAGE COMPANY