Navigating Financial Toxicity in Cancer Care Delivery

Financial ToxicityHigh costs of cancer treatment in combination with insurance limitations put patients and their families at risk for a major stressor known as financial toxicity. In fact, according to The Oncology Times, cancer patients demonstrate more anxiety over the costs of treatment than over dying from the disease.

Counseling Patients Experiencing Financial Toxicity [Webinar]

OncoNav recently hosted the webinar, Counseling Patients Experiencing Financial Toxicity, presented by Dan Sherman, MA, LPC from The NaVectis Group and Tina Evans, RN, BS to address cancer related financial burdens and discuss how they relate to a patient’s quality of life, emotional well-being and medical compliance.

Watch the Webinar>>

Financial Toxicity Populations

In the face of rising costs and limited benefits, the poor and uninsured populations are at the highest risk of financial toxicity, but it is a hardship faced by all cancer patients, survivors, as well as their families. Even patients who are well-insured and years out from their treatment are at risk of bearing the financial burdens of their treatment. According to The Oncologist, 42% of insured cancer patients express a significant or catastrophic financial burden.

Other specific patient populations affected by financial toxicity include the following:

  • Those who self-pay
  • Medicare only
  • Patients new to Medicare
  • Those with high out-of-pocket Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Medicare beneficiaries with no part D coverage
  • ACA with advanced stage disease
  • Advanced-stage disease with commercial coverage
  • High out-of-pocket commercial

“When compared with individuals without a cancer history, cancer survivors have higher out-of-pocket costs, even many years after initial diagnosis, reflecting ongoing cancer care and care for any late or lasting treatment effects. In addition, cancer survivors are more likely to report being unable to work because of their health, including more missed work days or additional days spent in bed because of poor health. Limited ability to work may also reduce employment-based health insurance options and resources to pay for medical care, further magnifying the financial impact of cancer. Combined, these factors contribute to the phenomenon of adverse financial effects of cancer treatment.” Read more on>>

Addressing Financial Toxicity

A recent discussion at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting addressed the practical solutions to address the financial toxicity of cancer care. According to The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC), they identified leads for future intervention studies aiming to prevent or reduce this burden. “We need to focus and prioritize. We have to tailor market-based solutions to ensure continued innovation.” Read the rest of the discussion on the AJMC website>>

Opportunities for Improved Patient Care

Nurse navigators often hear firsthand from patients who are forgoing follow-up exams with their doctors, skipping mental health care and facing difficult choices between paying medical bills or buying groceries. But with the right training, timing and trust, navigators can aid in reducing financial toxicity, bad debt and stress and increase patient satisfaction score.

The following opportunities for improved patient care are:

  1. Increase commitment to the role of Financial Advocacy
  2. Establish certification and educational requirements for the role
  3. Increase physician engagement regarding financial toxicity
  4. Improve process to identify patients in need

How are you addressing the number one stressor of oncology patients?

Navigating through Financial Toxicity with OncoNav

At OncoNav, we understand that the fear and struggle to deal with barriers to care, such as financial toxicity, can cause patients to delay or refuse care entirely. Nurse navigators are then challenged to anticipate, address and support their patients and ease their fears. With the help of Onco-Nav patient navigation software, navigators can get all the support they need resulting in more consistent services and improved outcomes.

Our support team is comprised of nurse navigators and Oncology professionals with decades of experience in the industry and who understand what barriers to care navigators face. We are committed to helping nurse navigators do their job better, while helping hospital admins run their navigator program at peak ROI. Learn how OncoNav can help you by calling (888) 369-1791 or contacting