The Surest guide to cancer
You have so much to think about with a cancer diagnosis—the last thing you should have to worry about is your insurance coverage. Surest offers comprehensive cancer care coverage. Use this resource to better understand cancer treatment options and your coverage on the Surest plan. If you are a Surest member with questions about cancer, request a call from the Surest clinical team. We’re here to help.
Choose the guide below related to the cancer you want to learn more about:
If you don’t see your cancer type, use the general cancer information below as a guide.
Cancer-related procedures occur in a variety of settings such as a doctor's office, outpatient center, ambulatory surgery center or inpatient hospital. Ask your doctor's office how your procedure will be billed. Your cost for the procedure will depend on how your doctor's office bills for the service.
Surest is here to help.
A cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming. The Surest clinical team can help you:
- Understand important decisions about your treatments
- Identify quality in-network doctors and facilities
- Share your preferences for care by communicating with the doctors and other specialists on your care team
- Navigate your Surest benefits and understand costs for services
- Learn about resources and support groups with other people going through a similar challenge
If you’re a Surest member with questions about cancer, reach out to us. The Surest clinical team is here and ready to talk. We will contact you directly.
General cancer information
What types of doctors might I see?
Several types of doctors and clinical professionals may be involved in your care. The doctors you see will be specialists in your diagnosis and may include:
- Medical oncologists specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer
- Radiation oncologists specializing in using radiation therapy to treat cancer
- Surgical oncologists who have special training in cancer surgery
Search the Surest app or website for a specialty or by a doctor's name to view the price of an office visit. You can share this information with your primary care doctor or oncologist to help guide you to quality, affordable specialists.
Can I get help making decisions about my treatments?
With an increasing number of cancer treatments available, it's normal to feel uncertain about your treatment plan or what is ahead of you. Surest can help. We have a clinical team available to help you navigate important decisions.
We can also help you find other doctors who specialize in your diagnosis. This is called a second opinion. Don't worry about offending your doctor. You are taking an active role in learning more about your condition. Most doctors expect and encourage second opinions. The Surest team is here for you.
Let us know when it’s most convenient to reach you. I'd like some help.
What types of tests might I need?
Testing will usually be done to help diagnose and stage the cancer. Types of testing include the following:
Laboratory tests: Urine and blood tests
- Many routine in-network urine and blood tests are covered at $0 cost to you. Search for the test on the Suret app to find the price.
- The cost of most advanced laboratory tests can be found by searching the name of the test on the Suret app. If you can't find a specific test, call Surest Member Services.
- If your labs are drawn during a doctor visit, there will be a cost for the doctor visit. This cost can be found on the Surest app under the doctor's name.
Laboratory tests: Genetic testing
- Genetic testing is used to look for inherited gene mutations that might put someone at higher risk of getting certain kinds of cancer.
- These tests may need authorization before the test is done. Your doctor will initiate this authorization.
- Genetic testing prices will vary depending on the type of test and how it's done. Most in-network prices can be found on the Surest app under the name of the test.
Imaging tests are used to look for cancer, find out how far it has spread, and to see if treatment is working. Prices for the tests below are based on where you choose to have the imaging test done. Search the Surest app for the test to compare and identify lower-cost options. Ask your doctor to send your imaging test orders to the place you choose.
- CT scan
- PET scan
- Bone scan
The price for an in-network X-ray or ultrasound is $0 to you unless:
- The imaging is performed during a doctor visit. Then you will pay the office visit price. Ask your doctor’s team if they plan for an office visit with the imaging.
- The imaging is considered an outpatient procedure by the facility and sent to Surest with that designation. Your cost will be the outpatient price. Ask the facility when you schedule the test how they will bill for the imaging.
Tissue or cell samples can be taken from almost any part of the body. The way the samples are taken depends on where the tumor is and what type of cancer is suspected.
Some types of biopsies remove an entire organ. Other types remove tumor samples through a thin needle or through an endoscope (a flexible lighted tube). These biopsies are often done by surgeons but can also be done by other doctors.
The price for a biopsy depends on the type of biopsy and where it is performed. Ask your doctor's team if the biopsy is considered an office visit or outpatient procedure. Search for the name of the biopsy on the Surest app to see the price.
What are the common cancer treatments?
Surgery is used to prevent, diagnose, stage and treat cancer. Surgery can also relieve discomfort or problems related to cancer.
If you need surgery, your in-network price will depend on the following:
- The type of surgery
- Whether you are admitted as inpatient or outpatient. You can ask the doctor or facility about this designation. You can then determine the price by looking on the Surest app. The price will cover the surgery and the routine hospital stay afterward.
You will find the cost of most surgeries by searching for the name of the surgery on the Surest app. You can compare prices between providers and locations. Share price information with your doctor to help decide where to have surgery. Many doctors practice at multiple locations, so ask your doctor about location choices.
If your Surest plan requires activation of coverage for certain surgeries, you will not need to activate coverage if the surgery is to treat cancer. Please call Surest Member Services to make sure you have a clear understanding of this policy.
Most surgeries will require a pre-operative physical. This physical is usually done by your family doctor and the cost to you will be the price of the doctor’s office visit. This can be found on the Surest app under the doctor’s name.
Radiation therapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer. It uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells.
If you need radiation treatment, the in-network price can be found on the Surest app by searching for the specific type of radiation therapy. This is the cost for each visit.
Some types of radiation therapy may need an authorization. Your doctor will initiate this process.
Drug treatments include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy or targeted therapy. These medicines may be used alone or in combination and can be given by infusion, injection or as pills.
- Injections and infusions can be given in the office, in an inpatient facility or an outpatient setting. There will be a cost each time you go in for an infusion or injection. The price is available on the Surest app.
- The cost of pills will depend on the type of medicine. If your pharmacy information is on the Surest app, search the medicine name and dose to see your price. If your pharmacy information is separate from Surest, follow the directions for your specific pharmacy site.
- The medicine may need authorization. Your doctor will initiate this process.
- Your doctor may recommend an implanted port or central venous line for the delivery of your drug treatment. If the port is inserted the same day as another surgery you are having, it will be included in the price you pay for the surgery. If the port is inserted as a separate procedure on another day, your price will depend on whether it is inserted in the doctor's office or in an outpatient setting. Check with your doctor's team to understand when and where this will be done.
What other services might help?
A dietitian visit can be helpful if you have problems related to food and digestion. This can be because of the cancer, or as a result of treatment. To see the price for this service, look on the Surest app and search for "dietitian" or a specific provider name.
Home care (home health care) services are usually provided through a home health agency. They may offer different types of home care services using nurses, therapists, social workers, home care aides and medical equipment.
- If you need home care, your doctor will order the service. Talk with your doctor if you think this may help you.
- Find the cost for a home care visit on the Surest app by searching "home health service," then scroll to the bottom and select location to find in-network agencies.
Acupuncture applies needles, heat, pressure and other treatments to specific places on the skin, called acupoints. This can help control symptoms such as pain, fatigue, nausea or vomiting. The price for an acupuncture visit can be found on the Surest app by searching “acupuncture” or a provider name.
Palliative care can improve quality of life if you have a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer. Palliative care addresses symptoms and side effects of the disease and treatment, as well as any related psychological, social or spiritual needs. To find the price for palliative care on the Surest app, search “palliative care.” Palliative care does not include respite care or hospice services. Contact the Surest clinical team for help accessing those services.
Support for stress, anxiety and uncertainty
A cancer diagnosis often affects the emotional health of patients, families and caregivers. You are not alone. One in three people with cancer experience mental or emotional distress.
- You have benefits for both in-person and telehealth mental health care. Look on the Surest app for specific costs or reach out to our Surest clinical team.
Resources you may find helpful
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This content is not medical advice. You should always consult with your health care professional.