Posted on February 24th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Something that has been on my mind a bit lately is the money situation and how it plays out in different choices of treatment. It may be uncomfortable to talk about at times, but it maybe helpful for some who are considering these issues.

When I was still at Uni, my Dad wisely organised a friend of his to set up life insurance for me. At the time I thought it was a bit of a hassle having payments coming out of my student wage, but alas, it was sorted. Libs and I reviewed the policy and set hers up when we were married. Thankfully, we chose a policy option that has proved helpful for us with trauma cover.

On filling out the necessary paperwork when I was diagnosed, the trauma cover was payed out with no complications. This subject may not be high on your agenda, but I make mention of it because it has been incredibly helpful to us during this time, and I am really thankful that Dad got me onto it when he did. It has just relieved us of any potential financial stress that we could do without at this time. So this is just our experience. Do with it what you will.

The other issue is more specific to Australia with our Public versus Private Health care system. For those not familiar to Australia’s health system, your health care is free and medications are subsidised generally through the public system. You can opt to be treated privately and pay for it or be covered by a private health insurer. There are lots of perks that come with private cover, such as shorter waiting lists and sometimes ‘nicer’ facilities.

Before I knew how sick I was, Elizabeth was organising her health insurance so we both opted to get full private hospital cover. This, by the way, happened 2 days before I was diagnosed when all I knew was that my chest was sore. Timing. So we started off private, and all the medical staff were excellent, as was the treatment. Due to a set of circumstances, I was admitted publically via Emergency when I had my hip/pelvis fractures. So many tests were run that we decided to stay with public.

I make mention of this because I was talking with a person recently who underwent chemo and radio therapies privately and paid the gap (kind of like an excess). I don’t know the full details of the treatment, so I can’t comment on the exact reasons why the cost was so high, but she mentioned she was paying $1000 a week in gap fees, totalling (so far) $40000. In my experience and opinion, I have been exceptionally happy with the treatment and professionalism I have experienced while being treated publically, as I was privately, but that sort of bill we can do without.

Now of course, everyone’s experiences and circumstances are different, and I do not present this information to make the private option seem unjustified. As it stands, we pay a nominal fee for our consults and this money goes straight into cancer research. Even now, after almost a year of treatment, we haven’t claimed anything from private health cover. The only major expense has been any imaging that we have had done to avoid the long waiting lists that accompany the public health option at the moment.

As I say, this is just our experience, please take it as such or feel free to comment with your own experiences. The understanding is that it may differ between what the sicknesses or injury is, hospitals, departments, doctors, nurses, states and countries. Whatever the case, this topic is all way above the bottom line. The bottom line is that we are so thankful that we have any access at all to health care of any description.


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