Chemotherapy (cont.)

How will I know if my chemotherapy is working?

Your doctor will give you physical exams and medical tests (such as blood tests and x-rays). He or she will also ask you how you feel.

You cannot tell if chemotherapy is working based on its side effects. Some people think that severe side effects mean that chemotherapy is working well. Or that no side effects mean that chemotherapy is not working. The truth is that side effects have nothing to do with how well chemotherapy is fighting your cancer.

How much does chemotherapy cost?

It is hard to say how much chemotherapy will cost. It depends on:

  • The types and doses of chemotherapy used
  • How long and how often chemotherapy is given
  • Whether you get chemotherapy at home, in a clinic or office, or during a hospital stay
  • The part of the country where you live

Does my health insurance pay for chemotherapy?

Talk with your health insurance plan about what costs it will pay for. Questions to ask include:

  • What will my insurance pay for?
  • Do I or does the doctor's office need to call my insurance company before each treatment for it to be paid for?
  • What do I have to pay for?
  • Can I see any doctor I want or do I need to choose from a list of preferred providers?
  • Do I need a written referral to see a specialist?
  • Is there a co-pay (money I have to pay) each time I have an appointment?
  • Is there a deductible (certain amount I need to pay) before my insurance pays?
  • Where should I get my prescription drugs?
  • Does my insurance pay for all my tests and treatments, whether I am an inpatient or outpatient?

How can I best work with my insurance plan?

  • Read your insurance policy before treatment starts to find out what your plan will and will not pay for.
  • Keep records of all your treatment costs and insurance claims.
  • Send your insurance company all the paperwork it asks for. This may include receipts from doctors' visits, prescriptions, and lab work. Be sure to also keep copies for your own records.
  • As needed, ask for help with the insurance paperwork. You can ask a friend, family member, social worker, or local group such as a senior center.
  • If your insurance does not pay for something you think it should, find out why the plan refused to pay. Then talk with your doctor or nurse about what to do next. He or she may suggest ways to appeal the decision or other actions to take.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/5/2014

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