Open Enrollment Information

Open Enrollment Open Enrollment is here. Now is a great time to compare plans to determine your potential medical expenses for the coming year. Below are some tips and suggestions when looking at the new plans for 2018.

  1. How to understand the basics of an insurance plan.
    1. Insurance can be very complex. Understanding how your insurance plan works is incredibly important. Triage Cancer is a great site to view animated short videos on how insurance works
    2. Triage Cancer-Animated Videos
  2. Will you still be in treatment for cancer in 2018?
    1. Take a look at the out of pocket expenses of all plans to see what your potential expenses might be. The longer you are in treatment the more likely you will reach your out of pocket max
  3. HSA/FSA Accounts? Yes, this money does come out of your check but it can be a great way to access money pretax to pay your medical bills.
  4. Affordable Health Care Plans
    1. Make sure that once you have selected you plan you call the clinics to ensure that the plan is IN NETWORK for ALL of the doctor’s you want to maintain.
    2. Open Enrollment dates November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017
  5. Medicare
    1. Open Enrollment: October 15- December 7.
    2. If you want to shop around with plans or have questions a good place to start is with your local Area Agency on Aging. They have certified navigators that can help you understand the health insurance plans. They can also help you determine if you qualify for any extra help programs.
    3. Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging- 817-258-8125
    4. Dallas County Area Agency on Aging-214-871-5065
    5. North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging- 800-272-3921

Inscripción Abierta

La inscripción abierta está aquí. Ahora es un buen momento para comparar los planes para determinar sus posibles gastos médicos para el próximo año. A continuación se presentan algunos consejos y sugerencias al examinar los nuevos planes para 2018.
  1. Cómo entender los conceptos básicos de un plan de seguro.
    1. El seguro puede ser muy complejo. Comprender cómo funciona su plan de seguro es increíblemente importante. Triage Cancer es un gran sitio para ver videos cortos animados sobre cómo funciona el seguro
    2. Triage Cancer-Animated Videos
  2. ¿Todavía estarás en tratamiento para el cáncer en 2018?
    1. Mire a los máximo de gastos de su propio bolsillo de todos los planes para ver cuáles podrían ser sus posibles gastos. Si usted va a estar en tratamiento por un tiempo, es probable que alcance su máximo de gastos de su propio bolsillo
  3. Cuentas de HSA / FSA? Sí, este dinero sale de su cheque, pero puede ser una gran manera de acceder al dinero antes de impuestos para pagar sus facturas médicas.
  4. Planes de Affordable HealthCare
    1. Asegúrese de que una vez que haya seleccionado su plan de llamar a las clínicas para asegurarse que el plan está EN LA RED para TODOS los médicos que desea mantener.
    2. Fechas de inscripción abierta son el 1 de noviembre de 2017 al 15 de diciembre de 2017
  5. Medicare
    1. Fechas de inscripción abierta: del 15 de octubre al 7 de diciembre.
    2. Si tiene preguntas, un buen lugar para comenzar es con su Agencia de Área local sobre el Envejecimiento. Ellos tienen navegadores certificados que pueden ayudarle a entender los planes de seguro de salud. También pueden ayudarle a determinar si califica para cualquier programa de ayuda adicional
    3. Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging- 817-258-8125
    4. Dallas County Area Agency on Aging-214-871-5065
    5. North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging- 800-272-3921

Need assistance or more information?

Contact our bilingual Cancer Resource Specialist, Jackie Castillo, at (214) 345-8428!


Medicare + Open Enrollment

These Changes Will Benefit Medicare Recipients The Open Enrollment Period for residents in Texas will take the place of the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) which was January 1 through February 14 of every year. This MADP only allowed beneficiaries to disenroll from their Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Original Medicare, they wouldn’t be able to switch from MA plan to MA plan. The return of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period will benefit many Medicare beneficiaries; especially if you forgot to change your Medicare Advantage plan or decided a different healthcare plan would be more suitable for your needs. There are some things you’ll be able to do during the OEP, like:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
    • You can only make one change, so make it count!
  • Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Traditional Medicare with or without a Part D plan.

The “Open Enrollment Period” Mix-up

The reason this gets confusing is because CMS failed to create better terminology for the different enrollment periods available to Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is for beneficiaries that are new to Medicare Part B and just turned 65. This gives beneficiaries the lowest possible premium on the most comprehensive coverage. With not health questions asked, which for cancer patients, getting the best coverage is ideal. Then the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is commonly (an incorrectly) referred to as an Open Enrollment Period. This is the enrollment period that happens every year from October 15 through December 7th, during this time anyone with a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan can change coverage for the following year. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is typically confused with the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. The IEP gives Medicare beneficiaries 7 months to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan; three months before, the month of and the three months after they become eligible for Medicare Part B and are 65 years old.

The Open Enrollment Period Simplified

It can be confusing when talking about the Open Enrollment Period. Especially since there are so many enrollment periods referred to as the “Open Enrollment Period”. The reinstated Open Enrollment Period is for Medicare Advantage plan beneficiaries and will begin on January 1 and end on March 31. The new Medicare changes of 2019 will make changing from one Medicare Advantage plan to a more suitable plan, simple. While there’s opportunity here that allows beneficiaries to change plans, you should understand that you won’t be able to switch Part D plans during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Medicare eligible beneficiaries that are enrolled in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan need to make changes to their Part D Prescription Drug plan during AEP (October 15 through December 7). Each year around September 30th, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing insurance carrier for their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription drug plan providers. When you receive this information, take responsibility and note changes. This will give you control, and you can adjust your coverage if needed. You need to be aware of what your plan and Medicare will cover. CMS will post plan changes for the following year in October, several months before the new year. is a valuable resource for Medicare beneficiaries, they can compare plans, look up information and learn more about Medicare.  ]]>

Volunteer of the Month: Tito

TitoAndMe“I got involved with CSC to earn community service hours for a class at school called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). It’s a class about college readiness, and teaches organization and prioritization of time. My mom is a cancer patient and a member of CSC and suggested getting more involved with the community through volunteering. At CSC I help out with group gatherings like holiday dinners, where I help prepare and set out the food and clean up. I also help prepare and set up activities at events for the kids who’s lives have been impacted by cancer.”

– Tito


Volunteer of the Month: Zainy Naveed

20180921_182304“I stumbled upon CSCNT through school as I was looking for places to volunteer and give back to my community. I did not know at the time that I was about to meet some of the kindest people on earth who eventually would be like family. I work as a hostess for the clubhouse so I greet whoever walks through the door and feel so proud representing what this institute stands for. I am lucky to be a small part of this fantastic institution!”

-Zainy Naveed

Want to become a volunteer at Cancer Support Community? Email or click here!


Health Insurance Appeals Process

Health Insurance – Appeals Process Insurance denials can occur when dealing with such a complex issue, such as cancer. Reasons for denials can vary from things like coding mistakes to more information needed from the doctor. ALWAYS ATTEMPT A HEALTH INSURANCE APPEAL. There are a few steps to filing an internal appeal, but in many cases, it is worth your time to attempt the appeal and explain your situation to see if the decision can’t be overturned. Before you begin the process always check in with your medical team first. In many circumstances, the clinic may file an appeal on your behalf saving you time and effort. Most insurance companies do require the appeal to be initiated in writing. Check with your insurance company to see how to begin the process. Most appeals are time sensitive, so you want to make sure and check the mail in a timely manner. Patient Advocate Foundation, offers detailed tips on what factual information should be included in the appeal letter to for the insurance to reconsider. Working with your medical team will be vital, they can assist in gathering evidence based information.  Patient Advocate-Navigating Insurance Appeals If the internal appeals process does not work or you need a faster response because it is a life threatening condition you can also ask for an External Review. The health insurance would be required to have an Independent Review Organization consider your case. Understanding of this process can help you to better advocate for yourself.


Proceso de apelación de seguros de salud

Las negaciones de seguro pueden ocurrir cuando se trata de un problema tan complejo, como el cáncer. Las razones de los rechazos pueden variar desde cosas como errores de codificación hasta más información necesaria del médico. SIEMPRE INTENTE UNA APELACIÓN DE SEGURO DE SALUD. Hay algunos pasos para presentar una apelación interna, pero en muchos casos, vale la pena dedicar tiempo a intentar la apelación y explicar su situación para ver si la decisión no se puede anular. Antes de comenzar el proceso, siempre consulte primero con su equipo médico. En muchas circunstancias, la clínica puede presentar una apelación en su nombre para ahorrarle tiempo y esfuerzo. La mayoría de las compañías de seguros requieren que la apelación se inicie por escrito. Consulte con su compañía de seguros para ver cómo comenzar el proceso. La mayoría de las apelaciones son sensibles al tiempo, asegurarse de revisar el correo de manera oportuna. Patient Advocate Foundation, ofrece consejos detallados sobre qué información objetiva debe incluirse en la carta de apelación para que el seguro la reconsidere. Trabajar con su equipo médico será vital, ya que pueden ayudarlo a recopilar información basada en evidencia. Patient Advocate-Navigating Insurance Appeals Si el proceso de apelaciones internas no funciona o si necesita una respuesta más rápida porque es una condición que amenaza la vida, también puede solicitar una Revisión externa. Se requeriría que el seguro de salud tenga una Organización de Revisión Independiente que considere su caso. La comprensión de este proceso puede ayudarlo a abogar mejor por usted mismo.]]>

What do I Eat?

What do I Eat? Food and Nutrition can be an important topic of conversation when someone is diagnosed with cancer. Before you begin doing the research on yourself check with your doctor and see if they have any recommendations. Some oncology clinics may have registered dieticians that can help you address any concerns you have in regards to nutrition. With any changes in your diet it is always recommended that your check with your doctor to continue to monitor your health. Below are some links to evidence based resources regarding nutrition. Some offer recipes, suggestions while in treatment and answers some frequently asked questions.


¿Qué debo comer?

La alimentación y nutrición pueden ser un tema importante de conversación cuando alguien es diagnosticado con cáncer. Antes de comenzar a investigar usted mismo, consulte a su médico y vea si tienen alguna recomendación. Algunas clínicas de oncología pueden tener dietistas registradas que pueden ayudarlo a abordar cualquier inquietud que tenga con respecto a la nutrición. Con cualquier cambio en su dieta, siempre se recomienda que consulte a su médico para seguir controlando su salud. A continuación se encuentran algunos enlaces de recursos con respecto a la nutrición. Algunos ofrecen recetas, sugerencias durante el tratamiento y responden algunas preguntas frecuentes.  
Want to connect with our Cancer Resource Specialist? All of her services are FREE of charge! 
Call Jackie Castillo at (214) 345-8428 or email her at

Volunteer of the Month: Ronald Smith

volunteer of the month

“T’ai Chi and Qigong are esoteric Chinese practices that I have studied for 20 years and taught for 13. A colleague at North Park YMCA, Diane Morrow, who also volunteers at the North Texas Cancer Support Community, suggested that I could volunteer to teach classes. Her suggestion came just after my youngest sister succumbed to ovarian cancer, as my mother had years before. I treasure the people who come to class and try to bring distraction, laughter and balance into our time together. If you can’t come to my class, I have YouTube videos at: T’ai Chi for Your Life.” – Ronald


August Texas Trivia!

texas trivia cancer support community north texas

Q: What is the least populated county in Texas?

A: “The least populated U.S. county is Loving County, TX with only 82 residents. Its territory however, is larger than Hong Kong and Singapore combined.”