A Personal Story: Risking Cancer – Fred, Canaan

Fred is 70 years old, is retired, and currently lives in a camping trailer in the woods in Canaan, New Hampshire, and exists largely on credit card debt. He has Medicare, but it doesn’t cover any dental care and he has no dental insurance. He has a dentist he goes to every six month; he’s been going to for 30 years. A year and a half ago his dentist was concerned he might have gum cancer, and gave Fred a referral for an oral surgeon to biopsy his gums. But the surgeon wanted approximately $400 per biopsy, which would have been out of pocket since the surgeon didn’t take Medicare. So Fred didn’t have the biopsies done. Fred went back to the dentist just a few weeks ago and was given another referral. But even if he finds an oral surgeon who takes Medicare, he doesn’t feel he can afford to go. Fred’s everyday living expenses are his priority; in addition, he has medical bills from previous medical issues. “I just can’t go any deeper into debt.”

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