Bottom Line/HEALTH: What lessons did you learn about insurance coverage and breast cancer?
Hollye Jacobs: This is something I actually knew when I was a health-care professional. I think the most important thing to know is that, first of all, fees are negotiable. So many people get these bills that are so incredibly overwhelming and think, I’m going to lose everything, I have to pay everything. That’s actually not the case. As a social worker, I spent a lot of time negotiating fees on behalf of patients. This was incredibly helpful, so as people are feeling overwhelmed by these incredible fees, first of all, ascertain whether or not your cancer center has a financial services department or a planner who can help you lay everything out, who can help you navigate your insurance. The most important thing for patients is to really focus on treatment and healing. To be overwhelmed and burdened by this financial weight that is often on our shoulders takes away from our healing time. Engaging the support and the knowledge and the experience of financial planners, of social workers, to help you navigate this process, I think, is the most important thing to do.