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Cancer Patients May Be Entitled to Coverage Under the Defense Base Act

Overseas Contractors and Cancer

A cancer diagnosis is not only shocking and terrifying, it is also the beginning of a long and costly treatment process. Many people turn to their insurance providers and employers for help with their medical bills, which may not be enough to cover all of the necessary treatments. For contractors who worked overseas or for U.S. military employers, there could be substantial benefits available under the Defense Base Act (DBA) to pay for your chemotherapy and surgery.


When Does the Defense Base Act Provide Cancer Treatment Benefits?

Civilian employees who worked for military operations overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, or any other territories occupied or used by the United States military are eligible for DBA benefits. Overseas contractors may also qualify for benefits if their cancer diagnosis is linked to their employment on a public works project or during employment funded by a contract approved or financed by the United States government.

The Defense Base Act could provide payment for your:

Injuries and occupational diseases.

The DBA provides compensation for any injuries or occupational diseases that arise as a result of environmental exposure and are related to employment. Prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals, sunlight, burn pits, and other hazards could have contributed to cancer development, and you should consult with your doctor about possible causes of your disease. 

Medical benefits.

Under the DBA, your employer is responsible for the reasonable and necessary costs of your illness, including hospitalization, surgery, prescriptions, travel, and follow-up care. These benefits can be provided for months, years, or as long as the patient requires treatment.

Physician visits.

The DBA allows you to choose whichever physician you want to treat your condition; however, you must choose carefully. If you wish to change doctors, you will have to receive approval from your employer and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Your treating physician will be in charge of your medical care, but he or she will also be in charge of determining your work status and eligibility for benefits, so it is vital that you choose a doctor who understands the demands of your job and will work with you toward a positive resolution.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove that cancer developed as a result of your regular employment. For help on gathering evidence and other ways to build your strongest case, look through our free book, DBA Resource Guide.


Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. 

William Turley
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