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Financial Support & Advice

New expenses or your finances might be the last thing on your mind if you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, but there are lots of places you can get help and advice if its needed.

A diagnosis of cancer often means that you will have extra expenses, like medication, travel, heating, car parking and childcare costs.

If you are not able to work or you are unemployed, this may cause even more stress. It may be hard for you to deal with cancer if you are worried about money.

New expenses and that you might have to pay for include:

  • Visits to your family doctor (GP)
  • Visits to hospital
  • Overnight stays in hospital
  • Medicines
  • Appliances like wigs

Everyone is entitled to hospital inpatient services in a public ward in all public hospitals. There is a €75 a night charge up to a limit of €750 in a 12-month period. Higher rates apply for semi-private or private care.

Medical Card

If you have a medical card, you will probably have very little to pay for hospital and GP (family doctor) care or your medication. Medical cards are usually for people on low incomes, but sometimes a card can be given even if your income is above the limit. For example, if you have a large amount of medical expenses. This is known as a discretionary medical card.

An emergency medical card may be issued if you are terminally ill and in palliative care, irrespective of your income.

If you do not have a medical card, you may have to pay some in-patient and out-patient hospital expenses. You may be entitled to some community care and personal social services.

Medical Card Information & Application Form

Your illness may mean you are entitled to a Medical Card.

People who hold a Medical Card are entitled to a range of Health Services free of charge.

To apply for a Medical Card, you can download and print an application form from this website, fill it in, and return it to the HSE Client Registration Unit, P.O. Box 11745, Dublin 11.

Alternatively click here to be taken to the HSE’s application for a Medical Card – Medical Card Online Application

Call the HSE customer care team at the Client Registration office on Call Save 1890 252 919 for any other questions you have about Medical Cards. They can also post an application form to you, or help you in filling in the form or making your application.

Mortgages, loans, pensions and insurance

Mortgages and loans

You may be experiencing short-term payment difficulties with your mortgage, due to your illness, and you may be worried about losing your home. Talk to your lender. If you can’t – contact the state’s Money Advice and Budgeting Service (“MABS”).or

MABS has a dedicated confidential, free, and independent mortgage arrears service. It is a state-funded service for mortgage debt advice and referral. You can call MABS on 0761 07 2000 for independent information, advice and referral.

If you are unable to make payments on other loans you can contact MABS for help on this too. It is the same phone number 0761 07 2000.

To be taken to the MABS website – Click Here.


You may be worried about taking a break from paying into a private or occupational pension scheme. For information about your scheme, contact:

  • The trustees in an occupational (workplace) pension scheme; and
  • The provider in a private scheme.

They will tell you if the scheme allows you to take a break and how this may affect your final pension payout.

The Department of Social Protection can tell you how a break in employment may, or may not, affect your final state pension. To be taken to the Deptartment of Social Protection website – Click Here

Health insurance

If you have health insurance the insurance company will pay some of the costs. Check with your provider what cover you have for inpatient and outpatient services before you attend hospital, the amount of cover will depend on your insurance plan.

It is important to contact your insurance company before starting treatment.

Taking out health insurance

If you take out health insurance when you are ill, the health insurance company may not cover you for existing or previous illnesses for some years.

The amount of time you have to wait before you are covered for pre-existing conditions varies from company to company.

Travel insurance

It can be very hard for people who have cancer to get travel insurance. This can apply if you have had cancer in the past or if you are receiving treatment at present.

Before you look for insurance, ask your doctor for a letter to say you are fit to travel. Before you book your tickets, check the cost of travel insurance as it may be so expensive that you cannot afford the trip.

When asked, you must give the travel insurance company all the information they need about current and past illnesses. They will use this information to decide how much of a risk you are, and how much they will charge. They may refer you to a special phone line that will ask you questions to medically screen you.

If you fail to give the insurance company all the relevant information, and you later make a claim, the insurance company may say the policy is invalid and refuse to pay out on it.

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CLL Ireland today

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Information about CLL

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