A Texas woman with pancreatic cancer spends most of her days on the phone doing battle with insurers and billing departments. Finances are her most gnawing, ever present concern.
Carol Marley wants everyone to know what a life-threatening cancer diagnosis looks like in America today.
Yes, it’s the chemotherapy that leaves you weak and unable to walk across the room. Yes, it’s the litany of tests and treatments – the CT scans and MRIs and biopsies and endoscopies and surgeries and blood draws and radiation and doctor visits. Yes, it’s envisioning your funeral, which torments you day and night.
But none of these is her most gnawing, ever present concern.
That would be the convoluted medical bills that fill multiple binders, depleted savings accounts that destroy early retirement plans and so, so many phone calls with insurers and medical providers.
“I have faith in God that my cancer is not going to kill me,” says Marley, who lives in Round Rock, Texas. “I have a harder time believing that this is gonna get straightened out and isn’t gonna harm us financially. That’s the leap of faith that I’m struggling with.”
Coping with the financial fallout of cancer is exhausting — and nerve-wracking. But the worst part, Marley says, is that it’s unexpected.
When she was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas head in July, she didn’t anticipate so many bills, or so many billing mistakes. After all, she is a hospital nurse with good private insurance that has allowed her access to high-quality doctors and hospitals.