$100,855.72 – The Cost of A Testicular Cancer Battle is Ridiculous
That’s nearly three years of my salary. Half of my mortgage. Roughly four new trucks. Approximately one-tenth of a wedding in 2017 (just kidding, but they are crazy expensive).
It’s also how much it has cost to defeat cancer over these past few months. That’s a crazy figure. Oftentimes, it’s said you can’t put a price on a human life. Essentially, now I can.
That figure doesn’t even take into account the gas money to and from the clinic, the fees from freezing my sperm, random food runs when the mood hit me, pharmacy prescriptions, and other miscellaneous comforts in the long journey that was chemo.
Luckily, I don’t have to pay the full amount out of pocket. I would literally have to take a loan out to do that. My bank account would barely put a dent in that, especially if I wanted to have electricity, running water, and food still. My insurance is covering the bulk of the bills. Thankfully, I am responsible for only a few thousand of that staggering figure.
Despite insurance, who has so much money to spend on cancer treatment?
However, I was not prepared to spend even hundreds, let alone thousands, of dollars on medical bills. (Before cancer, buying a house and planning a wedding were my financial goals for 2016-2017.) I have always been really good with money, saving, and budgeting. Even so, like most people, I didn’t have a line item for keeping cancer at bay. I am appreciative of the medical treatment I received, and I know it was a worthy cost.
However, all these bills pouring in, paired with the fact that I had to take thirteen unpaid workdays in February, causes me more undue stress. Part of me can’t get past the injustice of it. As Dr. Maurer said at my post-op appointment, I didn’t do anything to cause myself to have cancer, but I still had the cost to contend with. I am still on the hook for thousands of dollars of medical bills.
I’m also not entirely sure what exactly I owe and to whom.
My insurance company told me a set amount that would end my contributions to bills, but I received one bill from my initial surgery that was over this amount. When I called the insurance company to question them, they said that the claim had been improperly processed and I shouldn’t pay it. I keep getting bills for it, but I work through the business hours of the hospital and the insurance company and can’t call to figure out how much I owe. Becoming adept at bill paying and navigating automated phone menus is a skill I need to improve.
I hate asking for help and I never want it to feel like I am using ABSOT as a platform to solely benefit me in any monetary way. However, I am also a realist. I simply can’t afford to foot all of these medical bills by myself. There was a GoFundMe set up and both my former and current schools did fundraisers to help defray the costs and I am incredibly grateful for all of these contributions.
What about those without healthcare and insurance?
As I conclude this piece, I’m left wondering about those who do not have insurance. Would they be responsible for the full cost of treatment? That’s a wholly unnecessary burden on someone who doesn’t need it.
I am not a very political person, but I wonder what changes to the Affordable Care Act will bring to me (or other patients and survivors) if I ever need to change in insurance. Even though I am in remission now, I still need surveillance scans and follow up visits for the next year, which means more bills.
When talking with a friend in Australia, he said all bills are taken care of by the government. Wouldn’t that be a nice reality to have?
Although, I’m sure this comes at a price of having the risk of a dingo eating your baby.
A self exam is how most cases of testicular cancer are detected early. Click the image for video directions or click here for a larger version
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