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Reducing the Financial Stress of Cancer

Junko Fowles wearing grey sweater
Junko Fowles
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Cancer in itself is a big enough burden without the added stress of medical bills. The goal of the financial advocates at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is to help reduce that stress.

"Many patients don’t have a good understanding of the medical billing process, insurance benefits, or where to go to seek help," says Junko Fowles, a certified health care access manager and supervisor of HCI’s Patient Financial Advocates. "We’re here to help them navigate the complex financial side of the health care system."

Fowles says sometimes financial advocates themselves get confused at ever-changing health insurance policies and medical billing procedures.

"If it’s hard for us in the industry to understand, imagine how hard it is for the patients," she says. Financial advocates help patients understand what their insurance will pay for and what to do if insurance doesn’t cover a treatment. They also review bills with patients and help them understand what they owe.

With the high cost of cancer treatments, many patients worry about whether or not they can pay their medical bills. Fowles says sometimes patients don’t seek help until their bills have gone to a collection agency. She urges anyone with concerns to talk to financial advocates early on.

"We can explore funding options such as Medicaid, financial assistance, and organizations who offer financial help," she says. Her advice for patients and their families? "Don’t assume nothing can be done. We can help you figure it out."

Junko Fowles 
Supervisor, Patient Financial Advocates
Revenue Cycle Support Services Huntsman Cancer Institute

What Financial Advocates Do

what financial advocates do

Cancer touches all of us.