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the cost of cancer & chemo the cost of cancer & chemo

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Unread 08-02-2004, 09:07 AM
the cost of cancer & chemo

MY goodness! I just got an 'explanation of benefits ' page from my insurance company. Just for the record, I lost my job 5 days before my surgery...not health related, all jobs of my type were eliminated due to budget cuts. Talk about BAD timing!

Luckily, I was able to retain my policy via the very expensive Cobra option But now seeing this explanation of benefits makes me wonder HOW ON earth people who dont' have health insurance handle all these bills????

I mean, for ONE day of chemo treatments my insurance company was billed over SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS! My GOODNESS!
Numbers like this are like to give me a heart attack on top of everything else. I dont think my surgery & hospital bill was that much!

Man oh man. As if we dont' have enough to worry about...then seeing these NUMBERs! I hope everyone has great insurance coverage!
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Unread 08-02-2004, 09:40 AM
the cost of cancer & chemo

I retired two years ago by choice and got my own health insurance. Because I've always been basically healthy, I didn't get much coverage to keep the premiums down. Six months later -- DCIS diagnosis (the best kind of breast cancer you can get).

Lumpectomy. Thirty-three radiation treatments. The hospital's charge for radiation treatments was $35,000 - $40,000. (The hospital's agreed-amount with insurance company was some less. But if it was just me paying for it, I'd be paying the higher amount.) That WAS covered by my insurance. I've heard that radiation and chemo are to of the most expensive forms of treatment.

Drugs are not covered by my insurance. I am on Tamoxifen for five years. I get it from Canada. (Thank you to our neighbors to the north.) I pay $55 - $60 for 100 tabs from Canada. Here it would cost me app. $300 more for the same thing. Yes, $300 more.

Mary D.
Unread 08-02-2004, 10:21 AM
Cancer While Living on the Tightrope

I was downsized a couple of years ago from a comfortable corporate job that enabled me to have a safe, middle class life. I am now a full time student, my husband free lances and we have no health ins, except for some very limited ($5,000.00) coverage through my school. We have a small amount left in savings that should have lasted us until I graduated next spring.

Then I got dx with endometrial cancer.

We've had no choice but to apply for every sort of charity care that's available (from the hospital, the state, our church and other private orgs). This has been a humiliating and painful experieice for me having strangers paw through my finances and having to explain about my cancer over and over again. Ever though I know intellectually I shouldn't be ashamed, but it's very hard for me not to be ashamed and very angry for a number of reasons I'll skip for now.

That being said refuse to die because simply because I do not have health insurance and will do anything to get treatment. I can only begin to imagine how expensive this will be but I'm going to do what I have to do put this behind me and get on with my life.
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Unread 08-02-2004, 10:25 AM

The costs are just staggering and now I understand why some people have no choice but to declare bankruptcy from medical bills. Surgery--hospital bill was $25,003. Surgeons, add another $11,000. I just went on Medicare July 1 but I also have a full HMO policy (no supplemental) with it or by now I'd be shaking in my boots.
Unread 08-02-2004, 02:19 PM
the cost of cancer & chemo

Everdean, I admire you. When push comes to shove, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. My husband is talking about dropping the cobra policy we have because of the expense. And we could actually qualify to go on State-Aid insurance. I dont' have a problem with that...but my oncologist is NOT on their plan and my life is in their hands...I trust them and am NOT about to switch now. I told my husband that he's going to have to work out something to be able to afford the plan we have now because there is NO WAY I'm leaving the doctor I have now.

Insurance, medical costs, etc...What a nightmare! I wonder if Hilary was onto something after all......?? (believe me, I'm probably the least politically inclined person you will ever come across, so I'm not looking to start a debate about
Unread 08-02-2004, 04:12 PM

I have a condition for which the medication alone costs over $15,000 per year. Sometimes I like to complain about my HMO but when it comes down to it, they have taken pretty darned good care of me.

Fortunately for the less fortunate, the drug company has a "scholarship" that allows those who don't have insurance to get the drug.

Unread 08-02-2004, 09:50 PM
the cost of cancer & chemo

Insurance, or no insurance, is a gamble either way. We opted to pay more for a better policy. In our case it was a wise move considering how expensive my treatment was. It would have taken a rather substantial chunk of our savings to pay for it. For people without much in the way of assets, insurance may not be necessary as the state will pick up the tab. Everyone gets care, it's just a question of who pays, the patient, the insurance company, or the state.

I had a young cousin who had a job but chose not to get health care insurance. He was in a horrible accident and his hospital bill got up close to $2 million. The state of Texas paid every dime. He didn't own a home, or anything else, so there were no assets for them to take. In his case the gamble of no insurance made sense. For me, with a house, kids, and savings, I wouldn't take the gamble of no insurance.

(Now that I think about it, I don't think they can take your house but they can certainly expect you to pay the bills out of your savings and other assets.)

To each his own. It's a choice to have insurance or not. For some it's worth it, for some it's not.


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