Friday, August 7, 2009

The Scary Part of Cancer. . . For Ethan Zohn Its the Medical Bills

As you probably already know Ethan Zohn of Survivor fame is going through treatment for Hodgkins Disease.  He is now another face of young adult cancer which hopefully will bring more awareness to our lost age group.  I saw this video on where he is documenting his journey.  The video is super short but speaks volumes about the state of healthcare in our country.  And I could soooo relate.  

When I was going through my treatment for breast cancer I luckily had good insurance.  But still there were copays and part of my reconstruction that was not covered cost 4,000 dollars.  At the time (this was 2001) that there was  bill passed stating that surgery related to breast cancer including all reconstruction was to be covered by insurance.  But somehow with all I was going through with my surgery, chemo and trying to hold down a full time job my bills started to get thrown into a big pile called "things I just can't deal with right now"  I often felt as though I needed someone to help me with that big pile of shit constantly calling to me from my kitchen table.  I was scared, depressed, and I couldn't focus to read any of that crap.  And I paid the price, literally.  By the time I had finished my chemo and was feeling better I started to sift through that pile and found the 4,ooo dollar bill for part of my reconstruction.  I was finally all ready to file a grievance to my insurance company only to read in the fine print that the grace period was over.  I screwed myself. 

And the bills don't stop as a survivor.  There are costly scans, doc visits, bloodwork, and the occasional scary biopsy.  2 years ago I went through one of those scary biopsies for my boob in an MRI machine.  The cost $12,000 dollars!  And it was thankfully benign. I was still healthy.  But although I have good insurance I still had to pay the 30% which added up to quite alot of dough.  

I am never without getting a billing statement from Sloan Kettering for my followups.  I am so thankful that I am healthy and alive but cannnot help be bitter about the downsides of life after cancer.  Besides the residual side effects from chemo the medical bills never seem to stop.

Kudos to Ethan for so candidly sharing his fears and frustration with this aspect of the cancer experience.  

What did you think of Ethan's video? Were you drowning in medical bills during your treatment?  Did you have insurance or even if you did, was it good enough?  How did you deal with your financial issues while fighting for your life?

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