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Navigating Insurance Coverage and Finances

Navigating Insurance Coverage and Finances

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) Proton Therapy Center wants to help its patients through every step of their treatment process. Among the most concerning issues for some patients are cost and insurance coverage. The center connects their patients with a personal patient navigator to support their journey throughout treatment.

As part of the patient navigator’s role, they counsel patients on financial matters. They can provide many helpful insights and clear the fog surrounding proton therapy and affordability. In their role as financial counselor, the patient navigator will look at a particular patient’s insurance and determine if the policy covers proton therapy for the patient’s disease type. They can also help qualified patients apply for Medicaid coverage when applicable.

Charity care may be an option for some patients. To determine benefits and whether a patient qualifies, SCCA Proton Therapy Center patient navigators refer to the Washington State Poverty Guidelines. These guidelines use criteria such as family size and income to specify which patients qualify. It can become confusing to determine, so having someone to advise a patient on these matters in incredibly important.

If patients who are considering proton therapy run into issues with their insurance coverage, our patient navigators can help. They will begin an appeals process for a denial, and help the patient every step of the way. “We are here from start to finish for our patients,” SCCA Proton Therapy Center Patient Navigator Amanda Hammer says, “and we are here to advocate for them.”

Dana DeMarco, a patient success supervisor at SCCA Proton Therapy Center, says of this obstacle to treatment: “It can be a nervous and scary process for some patients. But when an appeal comes through, or proton therapy is immediately approved, hearing patients get so excited on the other end of the phone is so great,” says DeMarco. For her, it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of her role.

Everyone involved in patient care wants the patient to focus all their attention on getting healthy rather than worrying about insurance coverage. Our patient navigators want everyone to know there is a comprehensive and collaborative team eager to help patients, and give them peace of mind.