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Please excuse my whining...

DSFrey
Posts: 69
Joined: Jan 2014

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Jojo61's picture
Jojo61
Posts: 1310
Joined: Oct 2013

oh DS...I am so sorry for how you are feeling....and it is NOT whining! Money problems are always such a heavy load to bear....and sometimes it never seems that we are in a better financial situation. Laughing

I am Canadian, so I don't know how your health coverage works...but is there any way that the follow ups are cost free or at least less costly?

That being said....if you had waited, it could have gone to more than stage 1 and ended up costing you a lot more. Don't feel stupid...hindsight is 20/20 and we all make decisions that we second guess. I think you made the best choices.

I hope you find your way out of this regret.

Hugs,

Jojo

 

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1980
Joined: Mar 2014

I agree with Jojo. Waiting could spread it and made it a lot worse financially, medically, and psychologically. They have no way of knowing for sure what stage it is until they go in there and remove it. So yes, this is a case of 20/20 in hindsight. There must be some way to get insurance coverage for follow up care. Even for us stage 1 people it’s crucial to have follow up. There are no guarantees in this life so please don’t stop the follow up care and look into possibilities of coverage. Do you have insurance through your job? Could you get insurance through Affordable Care? I don't know your situations so that's why I'm asking.

 

DSFrey
Posts: 69
Joined: Jan 2014

I do have insurance through my employer, the deductible is obscene though. I have scans scheduled this June but there is no way I'm going to be able to cover 100% of the cost. At the present I'm living pay check to pay check, no savings what so ever, its all gone. I'll have to talk with someone at the cancer center to see if they offer some kind of affordable payment plan that doesn't require a large deposit up front but I'm not holding my breath on it. If they can't help I'll just have to reschedule for another 6 months and see where things stand then. We do have a University hospital that offers free or nearly free care but to qualify for that I would have to quit my job. That's not a solution when I have rent and food to buy to actually live.

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1980
Joined: Mar 2014

DS, not sure I understand why you would have to cover the entire scan cost. Even with a large deductable they insurance should cover some of it, no? And if you can't afford a CT scan, get an ultrasound. That is much cheaper and in low stage RCC it's perfectly acceptable follow up. It's what Sloan Kettering is doing with me, not CT scans. But please look into perhaps getting a payment method. You cannot ignore this is give up on follow ups. It's important that you get checked. I'm so sorry you have to stress over this. It's not whining; it's a realistic worry.

DSFrey
Posts: 69
Joined: Jan 2014

I don't have a copay, just a deductible and an annual out of pocket maximum. I have to pay the deductible, $2750, before my insurance begins to pay anything. After I've paid $2750, then my insurance covers 75%. After I've paid the annual maximum, $5000, then my insurance covers 100%. I do start the year with $250 in a health reimbursement account (HRA) that automatically gets applied to the deductible but even still that will not be nearly enough to cover the cost of the chest and abdominal ct scans. US could be an option for the abdominal scan, I'll have to confer with the oncologist. But of course even arranging to see the doc before my scans will take from my HRA leaving me to pay more out of pocket for the chest scan. Maybe I should move to Canada. How long does one have to live there before you qualify for health care? I'm being faceitious of course, I could never afford to leave my home town.

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1980
Joined: Mar 2014

DS, is there any way you can afford a low deductable policy? And do look into US for kidney and chest x ray instead of CT scans. As I said, my six month follow up is that and I'm sure the oncologists at Sloan Kettering know what they're doing. So you might be able to go with that instead of the very expensive CT scans.

Limelife50's picture
Limelife50
Posts: 476
Joined: Nov 2011

Maybe get a part time job? Just messing with ya pay what you can afford its better to be alive and owe money then it is to be below ground and owe nothing.

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

DS,

I am new to this forum and just had a partial for a stage 1 tumor as well.  Two things:

1) There is no question you did right by having the surgery.  It never makes sense to give cancer a chance.  Only perhaps if you were quite elderly or physically compromised to a point where major surgery is too great a risk.  Otherwise... you have it removed posthaste.

2) Check with your state and your employer's HR department about how you insurance agency is administering your policy.  It could be they are over zealously pressuring you... . 

 

 

Andrew

 

 

a_oaklee
Posts: 512
Joined: Nov 2013

Ds.  I'm so sorry that you are feeling down due to financial problems.  You are SOOOOOO not alone.  This disease has devastated more than the health of some individuals.  We don't talk very much on this thread about financial matters, but I am sure you are not alone.  My husband turned 65 right before his diagnosis and except for the medications, Medicare has been wonderful.  I don't know how far you are away from turning 65, but we have had no problems whatsoever with obtaining care and no coPays.  On the other hand, unexpected loss of income, has devastated us.  We never had a Plan B, but we are working on that now.  We even have to sell our home.  Just cannot afford the way we were living.  Regarding the choice you made to have surgery and not wait..........you did the absolute right thing.  You were advised by professionals.  You are probably just having these thoughts because you are feeling down.  All the what-ifs!  Try to put those thoughts out of your mind.  Trust me when I say you really wouldn't want to be Stage 4.  I hope you will feel better soon.  Thankyou for posting.

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

Growing up in England with the NHS. I was amazed to find out the health care was classed as 'benefits' when I moved to the US. I was also stunned to discover that a copay is not a cute south american mammal, but thats another story. I get good health insurance through work, I think, and my oncologists secretary has been brilliant at thinking up scans to pay for medication. In fact everyone has been incredibly helpful. Ask for help, I bet there's some lurking somewhere waiting to ease your worried mind.

jason.2835
Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014

DSFrey,

I am fortunate enough to have an old school restaurant owner who likes to take care of his key people.  Usually in my business you're s*&t outta luck on insurance.  I see what my crew go through every day, though.  It's just impossible to afford the health insurance copays.

My boss is in charge of running the health insurance and he was showing me the plans that they had to offer the crew.  He literally told me that he was embarrassed to even offer it to them because he knew the copay system was so bad.  There is an outside chance that they may be able to afford the monthly payment, but then when they actually need care it's a total joke.

I totally hear you.  I just wish there was an option.  Obamacare is a TRAIN WRECK.  It's just ridiculous.  Hopefully the more people complain about it, it will change.  I like the idea of offering health coverage to everybody.  Your health should not cost money.  Not to sound "Star Trek."  But all one needs to do is look at the obscene amounts that hospitals charge the insurance companies to see where the problem truly lies.  $5,000 for an X-Ray that takes 2 minutes, my surgery for RCC cost almost NINETY THOUSAND DOLLARS... The whole system is a joke, joke, joke.

- Jay 

Positive_Mental_Attitude's picture
Positive_Mental...
Posts: 454
Joined: Jul 2014

I feel your pain.  Family premium is $18,000 per year. We must pay $7,000 out of pocket before benefits kick in.  When I went for my second opinion last year and scheduled surgery at Sloan Kettering in NYC, my health insurance company told me 6-7 weeks after they said the Sloan Kettering doctor and hospital were in my plan that they were NOT in my plan.  I was 2 weeks from surgery.  I read our health insurance plan documents and contract from cover to cover, and they were full of it.  I finally called a local state representative who made some calls to the higher ups at my health insurance company, and they approved my surgery at Sloan Kettering.  I sometimes wonder if if just went without insurance if I would be better off?  $25,000 per year before any benefits--what if I saved that money and put it into a special savings account for healthcare. 

Our health care system is still broken.  Obamacare caused more problems than it solved.

Allochka's picture
Allochka
Posts: 898
Joined: Nov 2014

Guys, the sums you mention here are unbeliavable to me... I live in Northern Europe, in the part of former USSR (in Latvia). I guess here healthcare system is a bit like NHS.

if your family doc refers you to a specialist - you have to pay very small amounts for everything. But the queues are big. If you want to go fasteer - you pay yourself, bur also rather reasonable amounts. Abdominal US at a very good clinic - 45 EUR. Chest x-ray - 15 EUR. When my fiance had contrast CT, it cost around 100 Eur, and insurance covered it. Insurance which costed him  around 200 EUR per year.

and for oncological patients standart  treatments are FOR FREE. His surgery didn't cost us a cent !

I'm amazed at the difference in health care systems. Of course ours has many problems. Some state of art treatments are not readily avbl, maybe. Lines to see a specialist are long. The money government assigns for healthcare from our taxes  are not enough. But stil...

DS, above you've received a great suggestion to have ultrasound follow-up for abdomen. You can do similar with chest - have an x-ray, not a CT. Much cheaper, I guess. Don't be sorry you've had surgery - it saved your life and gave you a second chance!

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

Healthcare is regarded as a breach of individual human rights

a_oaklee
Posts: 512
Joined: Nov 2013

I pay $1380 a month for my government mandated insurance.  Just for me.  The worst part is that there was only one orthopedic doctor within a 100 mile radius who would accept this insurance.  Now I need to see an eye specialist and there isnt anyone within a 250 mile radius.   I just gave up.  I need a specialsit but they won't accept patients.    Blows my mind!  What am I paying for?  This is so screwed up.  However, my husband, who has RCC and is on Medicare only pays for medications.  

DS.  negotiate payment after you have your tests, not before.  The people in charge are much more accommodating  when they want to be reimbursed For services already rendered.  Go up the chain of command within the business office.  Always be polite.  Don't agree to any payment plans with interest.  Just refuse.  Offer to pay what they would be compensated by a government plan.  I have experience with this sort of thing on both sides of the negotiation process.

 

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1980
Joined: Mar 2014

"DS.  negotiate payment after you have your tests, not before.  The people in charge are much more accommodating  when they want to be reimbursed For services already rendered"

That's brilliant. Definitely give that a try, DS.

nsb748's picture
nsb748
Posts: 90
Joined: Feb 2014

Most public hospitals offer programs for people that meet certain criteria to pay reduced fees.  Or maybe you can change insurance providers?

Someone joked about getting another job, but honestly, you do what you have to do.  Maybe you could get a job bartending one night a week or something. 

 

I would certainly keep getting screened no matter the cost. 

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