Recently received a low income health care card . It helps with pbs prescriptions but not with my most expensive one. I thought mris would now be free but found out I was wrong. My next one is for brain/sinuses/orbit .The normal cost is $225 for each area ,$675.Even before I said I had the health care card I was told they would do it for $350,which I must admit is a big discount. Health funds and Medicare do not offer refunds. I wonder what people do if they cannot afford this .
It can cost a lot getting sick. I guess you have probably answered the question yourself. If you can't afford it, you don't get it done. Doctors can ask for services to be bulk billed. Have you asked about that?
Overall, I think we are lucky to have the health system we do, though. I would hate to get sick in USA. In fact, going there might make me sick.
It isn't so much the doctors as my gp now bulk-bills me,but medications that are called private prescriptions and the mri.I agree some things in our system are reasonable,unlike the USA.Also, specialists are only now and again and radiation was bulk-billed.
I had a full body CT scan that cost me hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Three years later I had another one to check on everything and it was bulk-billed. I think my oncologist made a decision to request bulk-billing for the second one. So all may not be lost!
My observation is that doctors will do a lot to help you in managing finances/employers/insurance/super/etc if you leave it up to their professional judgment and not present with a demand for support. If you do present with a demand they are likely to back off and not use their leverage, because any support they offer needs to be based on their medical opinion, not on your financial needs. I am not saying that is what you are/have done. I am just saying that it is something to keep in mind.
Hi Silly and Harker,
I was confused by this discussion because I have never been asked to pay for anything. I thought it was like this for all patients. I guess not. I had to pay for the initial colonoscopy (that found my tumour) but nothing since then (except stuff like parking at the hospital, Chinese herbs, acupuncture). All the big ticket items (MRIs, PET, chemoradiotherapy) have been covered.
I'm wondering if there will be a point in my treatment where this may change?
I have not had to pay for very much at all, a few meds and one test that my surgeon did in his rooms and even then I only paid some of the bill out of my pocket.
Which state are you in? I am in Victoria.
Are you using public or private hospitals?
All my CT's & PET Scans and my chemo have cost me nothing, the hospital did not even charge me for any tests etc, what ever Medicare & Medibank Private pay them they accept as payment in full.
For me so far its been relatively cheap - had to pay an initial excess of $300 for my health fund for day oncology, for the year, but everything else is bulk billed - got the PBS card, so far its all been covered. And I got a disabled parking sticker - like, WOW! - (hard to get excited, but helps a bit when you need a litre of milk and am feeling stuffed from Chemo) And I get Seniors Discount when I look real stuffed. again, like, WOW!
There has to be a more equitable, rational way of doing this - you should not be hit so hard with costs - can you talk to your medicos about this, see if anyone can advocate for you. Cancer Nurse, Social Worker?
Andrew the oldhippy.
I was a private patient of an oncologist who worked out of a number of private hospitals as well as with the public system, That's why the tests he ordered for me came with a component of out of pocket cost (that is, additional to medicare and private health fund rebates combined). That was my routine for three years and included having to pay out of pocket for each blood test (of which there were a lot, as you would be well aware).
Two things happened though. One pathology company had a rule that oncology patients only paid the scheduled fee, which was pretty civilised of them. And another pathology company initiated a discussion about bulk-billing me 'from now on' because of my history. Those two things made a huge difference to my sense of wellbeing, as well as my bank account.
More recently I have been in the public system as a renal patient. I was concerned that I might have to change oncologists and find one that would work with m6y renal team (dialysis, vascular surgery) but when I asked him about it he said he was quite happy to work in with my renal team at the public hospital. Again, this was a boost to my sense of security.
Since I have been in the public system I have come to realise how fantastic out system is here in Australia. I could have every test that was ordered previously as a private patient and it would now be provided at no cost to me. And there is absolutely no sign at all within my medical team that they will make a business decision ahead of a patient care decision. None at all.
I am glad I can see it like this. It feels really good. Maybe others have different experiences.
PS. I have agreed for the public hospital to charge my health fund my costs and I have no out of pocket at all. So, I am not actually using up public resources (financial) as a private patient. Again, this makes me feel pretty good.
glad to see you have the financial stuff sorted out - really, dont need this sort of "real world" accounting garbage at this time in my life either!
And I am really glad I kept up my private insurance! ......
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.