The recovery process from serious illnesses requires a lot of your energy and attention. The good news is there are options and resources that can help.

One of the worst things about the disease is its unexpected arrival. For example, cancer is often sudden and unexpected which comes with a long journey that may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. Cancer typically takes a year or more in care outside from what you would consider a comfortable environment. Your mind is divided into hundreds of different things at once. In spite of all these medical problems, you still have to think about your family and the stress it is going to put on them.

If you know someone who has had cancer, or some other serious illness, you can see them struggling with fear and pain. It is much easier if they have health insurance as they have to worry less about medical bills. Unfortunately, the government health insurance does not cover everything and there are limitations in the types of drugs and care that government health insurance covers.

Costs that are not normally covered by government health insurance:

Alternative medicine and experimental drugs

  • Travel and accommodation for treatment away from home
  • Adaptation to your home or vehicle to accommodate your condition
  • Home nursing care
  • Wigs, special makeup
  • Hospital beds or other equipment for the home
  • Physiotherapy may be only partially covered
  • Treatments outside your own country

The coverage of the insurance provided by your job will not usually cover everything; most disability insurance plans will only pay about 60 to 70% of your income. While you are sick you still have to pay 100% of your monthly expenses, and the need to pay these expenses will continue as you recover. In addition, your household income may also reduce if your spouse has to take time off from work to care for you.

It's important to know the following things that can help you someday:

1. Check your insurance coverage

When choosing long-term disability insurance or additional health insurance at work, find out exactly what you need. You can then assess whether you want to increase those needs. Some of the insurance options that you can explore include long-term care insurance, which may include institutional or home care costs, and critical illness insurance, which provides payment at the same time to be used at your discretion in the event of serious illness covered by the policy.

2. Explore other resources

In addition to health insurance, you need to find out about other resources. That way, when needed, you already have the important information on hand. You can find various local, provincial and national non-profit groups offering direct and online help. For example, the Indonesian Cancer Foundation can assist you in care, managing stress, to financial assistance. Sometimes there are discussions covering financial issues and ways you can get back to work after a serious illness.

There is no doubt that serious illness can change your life. But if you're prepared for that possibility, you can spend less energy worrying about paying bills, and more for the better.