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  • Countries with free health care system ?

    Reading on these pages I'm HORRIFIED reading that some people here can not afford the cures/spend unbelievable amounts of money/are not covered by their insurance etc.
    Not only the scare of dealing with cancer, but also the anxiety of going bankrupt because of it or even worse not being able to pay the therapies. Are there any other countries with a completely free health care system (communist countries dont count ) as we have in Italy ? How works in your Country ?
    - early Apr/11: something is "wrong" in my righty
    - 16/Apr/11: ultrasound find a mass in it
    - 27/Apr/11: right I/O
    - 29/Apr/11: stadiation CT scan shows "all clear"
    - May/11: pathology: 1 cm Seminoma (90% necrotic), no RT/LV invasion
    - Surveillance....
    - March/13: relapse - para aortic node 1.7 cm, waiting for treatment...

  • #2
    We are pretty lucky in Canada.

    I only had to pay for one of Kevin's drugs and luckily enough it was covered under Alberta Blue Cross. So the only costs we had while he was getting treatments was living costs, hotels, apartments meals etc and even a portion of that was covered in the end. Thank goodness. With how our story ended, I would of been in lots of trouble if I had had all these bills that some folks have, at the end of all of Kevin's treatments, not sure I could of paid them off on my own.

    But, we were willing to travel to the states to see other doctors if thats what it took to save Kevin, so I suppose you do what you have to do and you find a way when it's your life or your loved ones life.
    Dawn Ann (Ryder)
    Caregiver
    Husband diagnosed Oct 2008 Pure choriocarcinoma., HCG 425000, 4xBEP, Left orchiectomy, marker did not normalize, 1xICE, Found 3 Tumours in Brain and more in Lungs and spinal area, radiation on brain and back, 2xTIP, 2 rounds HDC with Stemcell transplant, markers still did not normalize, lost the love of my life, my best friend and soul mate on September 23, 2009.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nut, there is no such thing as completely free health care. I'm sure it is paid for by taxes.
      Heidi

      Husband - age 51
      10/20/10 - Primary mediastinal seminoma - 10 x 9.3 cm; -HCG = 33 (<2.6); AFP = 3.5 (<9); LDH = 274 (100-200 )
      11/1/10 4X BEP
      12/7/10 End Cycle 2 - -HCG = 2; AFP = 4.6; LDH = 139 ; 4XBEP changed to 3 as tumor now 2.1 x 3.7 cm
      2/15/11 - Post-chemo PET ; residual 8 mm x 2 cm
      6/29/11 - Lung nodules stable or smaller, chest mass continues to shrink & markers all normal
      Surveillance since 6/11

      Comment


      • #4
        As Dawn Ann said, Canada's health care system is "free", although I learned that there are some things that are not covered. Namely, any drug not administered in a hospital (e.g. the anti-nausea meds were not covered, while the actual chemo was), and semi-private or private hospital rooms (dorm-style beds are covered). And lucky for us, my work has an extended health care plan that covered most of what the government didn't. Also, our government grants up to 15 weeks of "sick pay" for the patient, which isn't much but certainly helps when you only have one income.

        To your point, it's hard to believe anyone has to deal with the stress of finances on top of the practically unbearable stress such an illness brings.
        Husband Shaun diagnosed March 2010. AFP 4571, HCG 3340.
        6cm x 6cm x 8cm retroperitoneal mass + 1cm nodule in right lung.
        Stage IIIb, Intermediate Risk.
        Left I/O March 9/10: 75% EC, 20% Teratoma, 5% Yolk Sac + Seminoma.
        3xBEP + 1xEP March 15 - May 21/10: markers normal.
        Bilateral RPLND July 28/10: 9.5 x 7 x 4.5cm mass, teratoma only.
        Chylous Ascites Aug/Sep.
        November 2012 All Clear
        Continuously monitoring 0.9 x 1.7cm omental nodule (possible fat necrosis)

        www.teamshaun.wordpress.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by hbr777 View Post
          Nut, there is no such thing as completely free health care. I'm sure it is paid for by taxes.
          This is true, but until now - beside the taxes everyone (should) pay - I havent spent a single cent out of my pocket on my disease (on the opposite, oncologic patients here get a small amount of money from the government), and reading about people on this forum who needs to spend thousands of dollars just for a med, or a prosthetic, makes me think how I'm lucky.
          - early Apr/11: something is "wrong" in my righty
          - 16/Apr/11: ultrasound find a mass in it
          - 27/Apr/11: right I/O
          - 29/Apr/11: stadiation CT scan shows "all clear"
          - May/11: pathology: 1 cm Seminoma (90% necrotic), no RT/LV invasion
          - Surveillance....
          - March/13: relapse - para aortic node 1.7 cm, waiting for treatment...

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes and no, Nut. I feel lucky that I have access to state of the art practitioners, facilities, research hospitals, etc... I am willing to pay for that. I am one of he lucky ones whose husband has a job that has excellent insurance coverage. Even with that, it still costs us about $5,000 per year out of pocket for his treatment.

            I used to think the lucky ones were the folks who have "free insurance." Until I realized that I had a friend in Canada who needed major heart surgery. He had to wait 6 months for the surgery. He died before he could be operated on.

            Health care is a major issue here in the USA and there is no right or wrong - but lots of opinions.
            Heidi

            Husband - age 51
            10/20/10 - Primary mediastinal seminoma - 10 x 9.3 cm; -HCG = 33 (<2.6); AFP = 3.5 (<9); LDH = 274 (100-200 )
            11/1/10 4X BEP
            12/7/10 End Cycle 2 - -HCG = 2; AFP = 4.6; LDH = 139 ; 4XBEP changed to 3 as tumor now 2.1 x 3.7 cm
            2/15/11 - Post-chemo PET ; residual 8 mm x 2 cm
            6/29/11 - Lung nodules stable or smaller, chest mass continues to shrink & markers all normal
            Surveillance since 6/11

            Comment


            • #7
              Like Heidi said, there really isn't a perfect solution. Furthermore, most of us have never experienced first hand a health payments scheme other than the one under which we each live, thus making an objective assessment of the pros and cons of the many systems throughout the world daunting, if not impossible. We each can point to anecdotal evidence to bolster one point of view or another without really arriving at overarching conclusions. There is much to commend some systems with respect to offering broad coverage regardless of ability to pay while there is much to commend other systems that offer specialized care when needed. It's a balancing act to try to strike the right combination of the two. These topics tend to generate a lot of heat in addition to light so I thought I'd reiterate that no one has the universally perfect answer to what is a vexing problem.
              TC1: 1996, right orchiectomy, seminoma stage I 3.5 cm mass, radiation therapy (peri-aortic & pelvic 27.3 Gy)
              TC2: 2008, left orchiectomy, seminoma stage IA 5 cm mass, left & right prostheses, AndroGel TRT, surveillance at MSKCC

              Comment


              • #8
                Well said!
                Heidi

                Husband - age 51
                10/20/10 - Primary mediastinal seminoma - 10 x 9.3 cm; -HCG = 33 (<2.6); AFP = 3.5 (<9); LDH = 274 (100-200 )
                11/1/10 4X BEP
                12/7/10 End Cycle 2 - -HCG = 2; AFP = 4.6; LDH = 139 ; 4XBEP changed to 3 as tumor now 2.1 x 3.7 cm
                2/15/11 - Post-chemo PET ; residual 8 mm x 2 cm
                6/29/11 - Lung nodules stable or smaller, chest mass continues to shrink & markers all normal
                Surveillance since 6/11

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ryder View Post
                  We are pretty lucky in Canada.

                  I only had to pay for one of Kevin's drugs and luckily enough it was covered under Alberta Blue Cross. So the only costs we had while he was getting treatments was living costs, hotels, apartments meals etc and even a portion of that was covered in the end. Thank goodness. With how our story ended, I would of been in lots of trouble if I had had all these bills that some folks have, at the end of all of Kevin's treatments, not sure I could of paid them off on my own.
                  Dawn, it seems like Canada does this well. Full coverage when you need it. In the states, people are bankrupted.
                  Heidi

                  Husband - age 51
                  10/20/10 - Primary mediastinal seminoma - 10 x 9.3 cm; -HCG = 33 (<2.6); AFP = 3.5 (<9); LDH = 274 (100-200 )
                  11/1/10 4X BEP
                  12/7/10 End Cycle 2 - -HCG = 2; AFP = 4.6; LDH = 139 ; 4XBEP changed to 3 as tumor now 2.1 x 3.7 cm
                  2/15/11 - Post-chemo PET ; residual 8 mm x 2 cm
                  6/29/11 - Lung nodules stable or smaller, chest mass continues to shrink & markers all normal
                  Surveillance since 6/11

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Australia has a private and public(free) system. We also have safety nets so if you spend more than a few thousand per year, you can claim the a fair bit back on tax.

                    I went private, and was out of pocket. If I had gone public it would be free (for cancer its fairly equal). There are waiting lists for public surgery, but for life threatening issues it is usually quick.

                    The one good thing is almost anyone here can get private health insurance. To give you an idea for insurance costs here, I have top cover and it costs me $200 AUD a month.

                    Also, here if you DONT have insurance you pay more on tax surcharges, so there is incentive to be covered.
                    Initial diagnoses: Elevated hCG, Left I/O 17-June-2010. Prosthetic implant.
                    Pathology: Stage 1b, Seminoma/Teratoma
                    Treatment: Surveillance. hCG normalised 07/10
                    Relapse: Elevated hCG. 3xBEP finished 24/01/2011

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The UK also has a mix of private and public (NHS) health care. At tines, the NHS service will send patients to private hospitals/clinics if treatment cannot be provided within certain time limits.

                      Generally, the NHS performs well, especially in serious cases. Where it can fall down is when there are new and very expensive drugs available. Treatment then can depend on where you live as funding is dealt with on a local level rather than centrally.

                      Based on my experiences, the NHS has provided me with a high level of service. Over the years, it has moved from the "afternoon" or "morning" appointment system to a timed appointment. In the case of all aspects of my TC treatment, I have been seen on time or often early.

                      Although "free" at the point of use (the current political line in the UK), it is by no means free. In very round figures, each adult in the UK pays on average somewhere in the region of 4,000 USD per year in taxes in order to fund the NHS. The NHS has become a victim of it's own success and requires ever increasing levels of funding which in the current economic situation becomes more difficult. I guess that this is where it is easier for private health providers as they will pass on costs through higher insurance premiums or bills.

                      As others have said, there is no ideal solution, but I am glad that the NHS has been there for me and I did not need to worry about any bills whiole having treatment.
                      Jon
                      Left orchiectomy May 2008, AFP 1600, βHCG 200and normal after 5 months (AFP4, βHCG<1)
                      Non-Seminoma stage 1 - Under surveillance
                      3 years on and still all clear

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TGlover View Post
                        if you spend more than a few thousand per year, you can claim the a fair bit back on tax.
                        .
                        This is the same for the US, except all medical expenses are tax deductible. Two major issues with the US medical system (along with others) right now is the pre-existing condition clause and lifetime maximum. I, like Heidi do not mind paying the premium for expert medical doctors and advanced methods of treatment.

                        I have always said it is funny how it is required for everyone who has a vehicle to have car insurance but not for everyone to have health insurance. With that logic, instead of driving to the hospital, drive into the hospital. Then your car insurance will cover you!

                        Disclaimer-previous statement was a JOKE. PLEASE DO NOT DRIVE YOUR CAR into the hospital
                        sigpic
                        Diagnosed 4/17/08
                        Right orchiectomy 4/18/08
                        Pure choriocarcinoma; HCG 715,000; lungs, lymphnodes, liver, and random other places
                        4X VIP chemo at IU with Dr. Einhorn 4/25/08-7/4/08
                        HCG down to 7.2 10/28/08
                        HCG back up to 198 12/29/08
                        1 X PVB 1/2/09-1/6/09
                        2 X HDC w/ stem cell rescue 2/4/09-3/14/09
                        Follow-up with Dr. Einhorn 4/22/09
                        HCG 1.2
                        3 rounds, 21 days, twice daily, VP-16 50mg 4/24/09-7/10/09

                        http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/johncovell

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TC Destroyer View Post
                          I have always said it is funny how it is required for everyone who has a vehicle to have car insurance but not for everyone to have health insurance.
                          Car insurance is required to refund people if you crash their car, there's other people involved. Your own health care is a complete different thing.
                          - early Apr/11: something is "wrong" in my righty
                          - 16/Apr/11: ultrasound find a mass in it
                          - 27/Apr/11: right I/O
                          - 29/Apr/11: stadiation CT scan shows "all clear"
                          - May/11: pathology: 1 cm Seminoma (90% necrotic), no RT/LV invasion
                          - Surveillance....
                          - March/13: relapse - para aortic node 1.7 cm, waiting for treatment...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Again, it's a JOKE.
                            sigpic
                            Diagnosed 4/17/08
                            Right orchiectomy 4/18/08
                            Pure choriocarcinoma; HCG 715,000; lungs, lymphnodes, liver, and random other places
                            4X VIP chemo at IU with Dr. Einhorn 4/25/08-7/4/08
                            HCG down to 7.2 10/28/08
                            HCG back up to 198 12/29/08
                            1 X PVB 1/2/09-1/6/09
                            2 X HDC w/ stem cell rescue 2/4/09-3/14/09
                            Follow-up with Dr. Einhorn 4/22/09
                            HCG 1.2
                            3 rounds, 21 days, twice daily, VP-16 50mg 4/24/09-7/10/09

                            http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/johncovell

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hbr777 View Post
                              Dawn, it seems like Canada does this well. Full coverage when you need it. In the states, people are bankrupted.

                              Hi HBR 777. I am so thankful Canada does, it's been a struggle doing this on my own, we had our own bills that I had to take care of that were not medical related and that was hard enough, very happy we didn't have medical bills on top of that to worry about.

                              The shots Kevin had to help produce stem cells, sorry, I can't remember what the medicine was called, but that was not covered, but thankfully as I said my Alberta blue cross covered it which was good because the Stem Cell team told me it would of cost us over 15000 just for that. That in it's self would of been a huge blow at the time. I was on maternity leave and obviously Kevin was not working. I am sure family would of helped us but they would of had to of been eventually paid back. My coverage was god sent, but that was through my work not the government for that particular drug.
                              Dawn Ann (Ryder)
                              Caregiver
                              Husband diagnosed Oct 2008 Pure choriocarcinoma., HCG 425000, 4xBEP, Left orchiectomy, marker did not normalize, 1xICE, Found 3 Tumours in Brain and more in Lungs and spinal area, radiation on brain and back, 2xTIP, 2 rounds HDC with Stemcell transplant, markers still did not normalize, lost the love of my life, my best friend and soul mate on September 23, 2009.

                              Comment

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