Monday, October 09, 2006

The Cost of Cancer

When I first joined my union, I complained a bit about my dues... or the fact they collected dues on earnings I made before I even joined. Sure, it included things like health insurance, but come on! I joined my union last July. I was diagnosed in February. I have not only bitten my tongue, I have swallowed it completely. *not saying a word as writing current dues check*

Cancer diagnosis: (scans, biopsies, etc.) $4,671.25
Genetic test: $2,975
Surgery: $26,668.85
Port: $26,820.50
Frozen Baby Harvesting: $8,582
Harvest Drugs: approx $5,000
Chemo: $38,690.18
Radiation Planning: $24,483.71
Radiation Treatment: $77,925

Total Cost to Date: $315,723.27
(not including prescription drugs)

Insurance Payout: $219,945.72
(negotiated discounts/hospital adjustment/my out of pocket)

Future Costs:
Tamoxifen: Approx $200/month X 12 months X 5 years = $12,000

Cancer ain't cheap. Thank God for my insurance. I didn't have insurance for 5 years out of college. If you don't have insurance for the following reasons: (all are mine)

-you are too lazy to look into it
-your company doesn't offer it
-you don't want to pay premiums
-you think you're invincible

Please, please, please- you have no idea how important it is. And if you are lucky enough to have decent insurance and blessed enough to have enough cash to cover any deductibles, please do something to help the millions of Americans who can't afford insurance. Do something about the f-ed up system that drives people into the poorhouse if they're unlucky enough to get sick. Or poor to begin with.

I will write my dues check with pleasure. I will donate time and money to help those less fortunate. I will vote my conscience.

Easier than writing a $300,000 check.

(stepping off soapbox)


Anonymous said...

I am SOOOO glad I live in Canada. Our universal health plan doesn't pay for everything, but they do cover much more than what you had to fork over in union fees. If the gov doesn't cover it, usually our employers includes benefits (with a deduction from our paycheck) like dental and eyewear, and even semi-private hospital care.

The Ontario government has recently taken away some free benefits we're used to, like telephone prescription renewals and eye examinations, but we're still better off. By far.

I agree with you. It must be horrible to have to take food off the table so you can take your kid to the doctor. It sucks.

Gonçalo Figueiredo Augusto said...

I'm shoked as well! Here in Portugal the Health System supports the majority of the costs with cancer. I think it's more or less like in Canada, if I understood well. It must be horrible to live in US without taht famous health insurances. The health is not for everybody yet.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you got the expensive shit. Mine cost somewhere between $250,000-$300,000, it's hard to be sure. Having only catasrophic health insurance, I've been kind of SOL for some things. But I applied for financial aid at every hospital I was at, and they all gave me 100% financial aid. Just told me to forget about it. Must have been at least $40,000-50,000 that I would have had to pay that they just forgave. Can you believe that? I made sure to get my chemo and all treatments, labs, etc., through the hospital and NOT the doctors office, so that every procedure I did would be covered under the hospital's financial aid department (doc's ain't got no financial aid departments. They only have "accounts receivable" departments. They aren't as nice).

For not having much insurance, I'd say I got off pretty easy financially. I probably shelled out less than $6,000 of my own for cancer. That includes the $40/month I pay for my crappy insurance.

And I haven't even mentioned the benefits that people threw for me to help me pay for the stuff that I did have to pay for. I'm a lucky guy in the end.

Anonymous said...

to add to the sea of pink, now Sponge Bob Square Pants comes in pink.