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Financial Toxicity of Cancer on patients

Northwoodsgirl
Posts: 572
Joined: Oct 2009

“(Reuters Health) - U.S. doctors must realize that many cancer patients battle “financial toxicity” along with their disease, researchers say. 

The costs associated with treatment, even for those with insurance, often create hardship and distress, according to a new study in the journal Cancer. “

This article talks about how 40-60 million people in the US have high deductible health insurance and how cancer treatments can cause devastating financial losses for patients and how the majority of doctors don’t discuss costs or even realize that the services they provide are financially devastating to their patients.

It seems like only when one is at the point of treatments not working will the discussion of quality of life “months” versus cost and mortality come up. 

As long as cancer will cause death if left untreated, there aren’t too many patients who will forego treatment no matter what their financial resources or obligation. The medical establishment is so broken in the US. It truly is big business with continued escalating costs and great opportunity for profit even for “non-profit” insurance companies and their owned hospitals and clinics.

Big data used by health plans to determine premiums now may include using your shopping habits and what you look at while using the Internet ( a story about that was on national public radio this week).  Using very specific data mined from what you share on social media to determine what you pay in health insurance premiums is another finer point of discrimination and invasion of “privacy”. Cancer is financially devastating to many in so many ways forever. A lot of people lose their jobs after they finish treatment or become underemployed. It’s a financial “medical money merry-go’-round”. 

 

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

Even though you have insurance the costs are devastating.  I’m currently fighting with Aetna regarding payment for my $5,000 Foundation One testing. When I was diagnosed, I had a $7,000 deductible and I think a $15,000 max OOP which I easily met. And things like gas for travel back and forth to hospital. Accupuncture wasn’t covered. Wigs and hats, etc weren’t covered. i had to give up my private practice. And I’m lucky. It’s much worse for many. Our health care system sucks. 

MrsBerry
Posts: 102
Joined: Dec 2017

This is something that makes me cry, particularly since my Dx. I am fortunate to have good Coverage. I cannot imagine the stress of having to Fight for coverage in addition to fighting the demon that is cancer. Why, why, why can’t the US figure out how to fix the system? I have my suspicions that big money is being paid to keep the status quo. We ordinary Americans have no lobbyists working for our interests. 

This is the first I have heard of data mining being used in premium calculations, but it makes sense. >:( 

EZLiving66's picture
EZLiving66
Posts: 1469
Joined: Oct 2015

Be careful what you wish for!  I have been following one of the ladies who posts here from Great Britain. Reading her blog makes me thankful for what we have.  Yes, it's expensive, but it's available. She talks about shortages of antibiotics and painkillers - CT and MRI machines broken for months on end.  She currently has a GoFundMe page trying to raise money for Avastin.  http://grapefruitandwine.blogspot.com/2018/06/avastin-books-and-biding-my-time.html

Yes, this cancer has cost us a lot of money but I don't remember ever having to wait for an emergency CT scan, pain medication or antibiotics. You can have cheap medical care or you can have excellent medical care but I don't think you can have both.  The Canadian system also has major flaws. My friend in Vancouver's daughter had a black dot on her toe. Their primary care physician said it was nothing and would not authorize them to see a specialist. She finally got her father's doctor to authorize it and it was skin cancer.  Rarely are second opinions allowed. And, as she said, if you've got the money, you come to the United States for treatment.

I truly don't know what the answer is.  Are we willing to settle for less? Health care that is rationed?  Truly exceptional healthcare only for the rich? The vast majority of Americans are covered under their employers' plans - these are middle-class Americans. 

Love,

Eldri

Soup52's picture
Soup52
Posts: 906
Joined: Jan 2016

I agree with Eldri. Yes, I hate that I had to spend so much of my family’s money on my cancer treatments and it was a lot and so was my husband’s . If we had been on Medicare instead of his company’s plan it wouldn’t have been as bad. But I got treTmwnt when I needed it. My parents used to run into many people from Canada who came to the US for treatment and did not have to wait. Yes, it’s all difficult and I don’t know what the answer would be.

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