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The cost of medical treatment depleted Frances Edwards’ savings after she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in October 2016 — even though she has insurance.

In early 2019, she owed $6,400 in out-of-pocket charges for her first two cancer treatments of the year, and she knew there was no way she could pay.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, how am I going to do this?’” recalls Edwards, 74, who lives in Cambria, on California’s Central Coast, and drives 450 miles round trip every five weeks for treatment at the University of Southern California’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles.

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