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29. Uninsured

Millions of Americans have no health insurance when they are diagnosed with cancer but they often can get medical costs covered by government programs like Medicaid.

Reality of the Uninsured
A woman missing her left breast.
This Woman in West Virginia knew something was wrong but kept postponing seeing a doctor because she had no insurance. When she finally went to a free clinic she learned she had advanced breast cancer.

By 2008 about 47 million Americans were uninsured.

"25%." Among young Americans (age 18-44) about 25% are uninsured. Why? Mainly because they work for small businesses that do not offer health insurance benefits. But... they often "make too much" to qualify for the poverty criteria under Medicaid.

FAQs About Medicaid...

Q. What is Medicaid?
A. A form of government program which helps those who cannot afford to pay for medical care.

Q. How do you qualify?
A. You have high medical bills, low income and meet a few other requirements.

Q. How do I apply?
A. Fill out an application form which you can get from your local Department of Social Services.
Q. Is an interview required?
A. Yes and you will have to bring a few items (like proof of age and citizenship, paycheck stub, if you are working, and proof of where you live).

Q. How long until I know whether I qualify for Medicare?
A. Depending on where you live, it usually takes just a few weeks.

Q. Can aliens qualify for Medicare?
A. Yes, if they are pregnant or require certain emergency medical treatment.









Q. No health insurance and you've just been diagnosed. Now what?

A. Most people should immediately apply for Medicaid, which will cover most medical costs related to cancer care. The main issue is meeting the "limited income" test for the program.