Dealing with the financial implications of a cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming and scary. Chemotherapy can be expensive, leaving many people unsure how to pay for it. The good news is that there are several options available.

This blog will discuss how you can cover the costs of chemotherapy. We will also provide information on how to get financial support with paying for your treatments. Whether you are just starting your cancer journey or have been battling cancer for a while, read on for information on how to pay for chemotherapy.Blog feature image with a woman in a hospital bed with a tablet and a caption that says chemotherapy cost

What is Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, or chemo, is a drug therapy that destroys cancer cells quickly. In addition to cancer, it can also be used to relieve pain.

After being diagnosed with cancer, your doctor will likely recommend chemo as a standalone or in conjunction with other treatments. In addition to trying to comprehend your diagnosis, you might feel overwhelmed by chemotherapy’s potential costs. 

So many face uncertainty regarding the costs associated with cancer care. But understanding these expenses before beginning treatment can help you prepare for any financial burden that may arise. That’s why we want to break down exactly what goes into your chemotherapy bill and provide useful tips on managing those payments, both with or without insurance coverage.

Average Chemotherapy Cost

The cost of chemotherapy varies greatly. The average cost of a single treatment session can range from $10,000 to $20,000. Generally speaking, the more advanced the type of cancer you have, the higher the cost of chemotherapy will be.

The total price of chemotherapy also depends on the following:

  • Type of cancer – Chemotherapy is used to treat many different types of cancer, each with its own cost.
  • Stage of disease – Depending on the stage of your cancer, you may require more treatments and medication.
  • The number of treatments – The number of chemotherapy treatments you need will affect your overall cost.
  • Duration of treatment – The length of your treatment will also affect the overall cost.
  • Type of chemotherapy – Different chemotherapy drugs will also affect how much you pay for treatment.
  • Treatment setting – The hospital or clinic where you receive chemotherapy will impact the cost.
  • Geographic location – The cost of chemotherapy can vary greatly depending on where you live.
  • Side effects – Certain medications may be needed to manage side effects, which will add to the cost of treatment.

how much does chemo therapy cost

How to Pay For Chemotherapy

Although most health insurance providers help cover cancer treatment to some degree, it is important to remember that every insurance plan differs. The best way to understand what your coverage includes is by directly communicating with your health insurance company.


Health insurance may cover the following areas of cancer treatment:

Office Visits

A vital step in cancer treatment is visiting specialists regularly. Usually, insurance companies will pay for some of the fees per visit. However, you will be responsible for covering the rest. The amount you pay for your healthcare plan (co-pay or co-insurance) might be listed on your health insurance card.

Laboratory Tests

Your doctor may recommend laboratory tests, like blood or urine, as part of your cancer treatment plan. The fees for these tests are usually billed directly from the laboratory. Your insurance provider may cover all or some of these costs.

Imaging Tests

Among other tests, the group of healthcare professionals monitoring your progress might utilize imaging tests to monitor your progress. Some examples include:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs
  • CT scans

Some health insurance policies cover part of the cost of these tests.

Procedures And Treatment

There are several types of cancer treatment:

  • Surgery. If your surgeon doesn’t participate in your insurance network, your plan might only partially cover the procedure.
  • Radiation. Your insurance provider might cover part of the cost of radiation treatments.
  • Drug therapy. Your provider might help pay for your drug therapy, including chemotherapy. Usually, intravenous (IV) drugs are covered under your medical plan, while a separate pharmacy plan covers pills.

You may also have to pay a fee for each hospital admission or day if you need to stay in the hospital.

how much are chemo treatments

Medicare And Chemotherapy

Medicare offers coverage for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, depending on what type of plan you have. According to, chemotherapy and other cancer treatments are covered by Medicare. This includes Part A, which covers inpatient stays in a hospital setting, and Part B, providing coverage for outpatient treatment outside of a hospital stay.

Managing Chemotherapy Costs

Your cancer treatment plan can be expensive, and it’s important to prepare for the financial repercussions of therapy. Strategies to manage your costs include:

  • Choose in-network providers – To save money, go to in-network providers whenever possible. Your health insurance won’t cover visits outside of your network.
  • Plan for out-of-network visits – Before you make an appointment with an out-of-network provider, call your insurance company to see if they will cover the costs.
  • Get a full list of treatment needs – Get a list of proposed treatments from your healthcare team. Then, call your insurance provider to see what they will cover.
  • Researching grants and assistance programs – Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition, Patient Access Network Foundation, and Patient Advocate Foundation all offer financial help for cancer treatment costs.
  • Negotiating with providers – Speak to your healthcare providers or the hospital billing office to see if you can negotiate lower costs.
  • Seeking help from family and friends – There may be family members, friends, or other people in your community willing to help you cover some of the cost of chemotherapy treatments.
  • Creating a budget – Create a budget and plan for the costs associated with your cancer treatment.

How to Pay For Chemotherapy With Life Insurance

A viatical settlement is a way to finance chemotherapy treatment costs by selling your life insurance policy to a third party. This arrangement is typically used by people diagnosed with a life-threatening illness who do not have the financial resources to pay for their medical care. The proceeds from the sale of the policy are used to pay for treatment, cancer drugs, living expenses, or any other debts or expenses.

Support Programs 

Cancer is a trying experience, but you’re not in this battle alone. Numerous programs exist to support and care for people with cancer. These groups can introduce you to others who have walked a similar path.

There are a variety of cancer support groups available both in-person and online. Check out the following websites to find programs near you:

In Conclusion,

Coping with a cancer diagnosis can be hard enough without worrying about chemotherapy treatments’ financial strain. While each individual’s cost may vary, in most cases, health insurance will cover part of it – but don’t forget there are other options!

A hospital financial counselor or various assistance programs can help alleviate some stress if you struggle financially. Above all else, stay open and honest when communicating your needs with your healthcare team and provider; that way, they’ll have a better idea of how best they can support you on every level through this journey.

Specific Cancer Treatment Costs:

>> Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Costs

About the Author: Lacey

Lacey is a compassionate and dedicated marketing director at American Life Fund, a leading life and viatical settlement company. Lacey has made it her mission to help patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families get the financial support they need during difficult times.

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