The New Cost of Cancer Crisis

The cost-of-living crisis; a topic that is dominating conversations across the UK. However, there has always been a ‘cost of cancer’, having cancer and going through treatment can really affect your finances.  Your rent and mortgage payments don’t stop when you have cancer, but your regular salary may, you may be unable to work at all, there could be additional child care costs to pay, all these costs mount up, but you are not in the position to work to pay for them.  

The added pressure to those already struggling financially due to cancer, will lead to impossible decisions between heating the home or having a meal; we truly are at crisis point.

According to research conducted by Macmillan Cancer Charity, one in four people with cancer in the UK have admitted they ‘can’t afford live at the moment’*. To put it into perspective, this is almost 750,000 people already struggling. And with prices still rising, there is no denying that this coupled with a cancer diagnosis, will make life harder.

We, at Insurancewith, have always been passionate about helping our community through tough times, it was one of the main reasons Fiona founded our company all those years ago, and while we cannot alleviate the current rises, we can offer you some top tips for getting through the new cost of cancer.

Eating healthy on a budget

Let’s start with food. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital for people living with cancer and those currently undergoing treatment but recently you may have noticed the prices of your ordinary shop creeping up. Below we have put together 4 easy to follow tips for keeping the cost of your food shop down, without having to make drastic changes to your diet.

Avoid Healthy ‘Fast Foods’: Many supermarkets offer ‘healthy’ pre-made meals and snacks. Although these may look enticing, they are often packed with preservatives to keep them fresher for longer. Make sure you check your labels, a good rule to follow is the more ingredients on the packet, the worse it is for you. Opt for fresh produce that you can use in multiple dishes or freeze at home.

Meal Prep at Home: If you are someone who likes to just grab something to eat on the go, meal prep may be the way forward. Often you can make 3-4 meals at once and keep them in the fridge or freezer to have when you fancy. Not only will this save you time and money, as you won’t be buying food to cook every day, you will also be able to control exactly what you are fuelling your body with.

Stock Up on Pantry Essentials: Budgeting for a ‘big shop’ at the beginning or end of the month is a great option for those trying to make their money go further. Packing the cupboards with long lasting essentials such as beans, lentils, rice and pasta means you will always have a healthy option on hand. They are also great meal prep staples and most cupboard ingredients can be used in a ton of recipes.

Frozen Fruit and Veg: Don’t discredit frozen fruit and veg. The majority of fruit and vegetables in the freezer aisle are frozen at their freshest point meaning all the nutrition is locked in. As well as this, not only do they last longer than fresh produce they are notably cheaper. Frozen berries, bananas and even avocado make for a great smoothie and are ideal for breakfast or a nutritious snack-you can split the fruit into individual freezer bags to make it easier to grab one and pop it straight into the blender.

How to beat the cost of hospital car parks

Hospital car parking prices can quickly add up, particularly if your treatment takes a longer period of time. While you can’t change how long you are in the hospital for, there are a few things you can try to keep the additional costs down.

Free Parking Schemes: Some hospitals offer free parking for Blue Badge holders but be vigilant as this may not be advertised at the pay meters. If you are unsure check with the parking security team or hospital front desk. You may also be able to claim back a refund on your parking under the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme, you can check this online or with your local hospital.

Parking Vouchers: As well as free parking schemes, it is a good idea to look out for a permit or parking vouchers offered by your hospital. Most cancer patients who have to go into hospital more than four times a month are eligible.

Assistance from family or friends: Is there a family or friend that wouldn’t mind taking you to and picking you up from some or all of your appointments? Most hospitals have a drop off/pick up bay that can be used and will save you money on paying for parking.

Closer Roads: There may be roads surrounding the hospital that are either offer cheaper parking fees or are free of charge. Be aware of permit only parking and restrictions, particularly if the hospital is in or near a town centre or residential area.

Petrol prices are sky high, here is what you can do about it

Anyone else notice their petrol rapidly disappearing every time they start the car?! – us too! Petrol prices reached an all time last year, but thankfully they are starting to come back down again. However, with the cost-of-living crisis continuing, it is likely they could rise again.. Depending on the treatment you are receiving and how it makes you feel afterwards it may be an option to look at public transport.

Consider the length of your journey combined with the cost of parking and see if it would be more cost effective to take public transport. Again, it may be possible to have a family member or friend drop you off and pick you up if they don’t mind helping you out.   

There is also the non-emergency patient transport services, which it may be worth checking if you are eligible for.  Unfortunately it isn’t available in all areas, but to find out if it is available in your area and if you are eligible for the scheme, you can speak to your GP or the healthcare professional who referred you to hospital for the treatment.

Going on holiday on a budget

A holiday is sometimes seen as an essential recuperation for people undergoing or who have just finished cancer treatment, it gives them a chance to get away from the round of hospital appointments and just be them again.  However, with money being spent elsewhere in the house the budget may be tighter than usual. Below we have put together 5 things you can do to keep the costs lower when booking your next break:

Book with a package holiday provider: Booking through a package holiday provider not only gives you an added layer of protection should anything outside of your control happen and you are not able to go on your holiday as planned, it also takes away some of the planning stress. Having someone else take care of booking flights, accommodation and excursions takes the stress away from you. They can also work out cheaper; some package holiday providers will have offers on certain locations or last-minute bookings so this may be something to look out for if you are flexible with your holiday destination and the time you travel. Just remember to keep an eye on treatment dates and make sure you are able to get travel insurance for the duration and destination you are travelling to.

Last minute holiday bookings: The majority of the time you can find good deals on last minutes holiday bookings as companies do not want empty plane seats or hotel rooms. If you are not on any time restrictions and have a destination in mind it may be worth keeping an eye on a few travel websites/travel agents to see if the destination pops up or if you do not have anywhere in particular in mind, just see what takes your fancy.

Try a staycation: Staycation holiday’s peaked during the pandemic with people making the most of the UK when borders were closed and now more people than ever are choosing to stay here for their holiday rather than enduring the stresses of heading abroad. Staying in the UK means your travel insurance policy is likely to cost less than cover to travel abroad and also if anything was to happen health-wise you have easy access to the NHS or can return home a lot easier than if you were in another country.  

See if you are eligible for financial support: Some cancer charities will provide financial support or gift holidays to those that are going through treatment or have had a diagnosis. This is often from a ‘fund pot’ and will cover all or a portion of the holiday expenses for you and your family. Those on low income may also be entitled to a grant they can apply for and use towards the cost of a recuperating holiday.

Make sure you are covered with travel insurance: We, more than anyone, know how hard it is to find travel insurance once you have been given a cancer diagnosis. Our founder, Fiona, went through the exact same scenario when she wanted to go on holiday after treatment and found she was uninsurable – hence why she created Insurancewith to give everyone a fairer chance of going away. You can read more about Fiona’s story here.

Although we ask a lot more in-depth medical questions, it means we can accurately assess your situation as it is today and not how it was at the time of diagnosis. And if for any reason we are not able to offer you a quote online or with our customer service team over the phone you will be referred to our medical underwriting team who will carry out a thorough, more human, assessment.

How to find support for the cost of cancer crisis

Although all of this advice is great, what some of us really need right now is support and there are a number places you can turn that will help with the cost of living with cancer crisis. Joining local support groups on social media may help you to cope and get more ideas on how you can save. You can also find your local support group by searching online.

There are also some places you can turn to for financial support if you are struggling:

As always, we are always here to support you with your travel and travel insurance queries, if you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch either via our social media channels or email us.

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