As of June 3, 2013 my insurance paid $23,045.89; i paid $280.00

Well, here is evidence of the need for insurance. I had my first appointment with my cancer doctor on March 3, 2013 and by June 3, my insurance paid $23,045.89. That is the first three months for surgery and chemo. 

I have a back ache so will not total the rest just now. 

Now, as a participant observer, interesting things happen to fingernails. I think I told you of the colored stripes under my nails. It seems that they are growth rings between treatments. There also formed deep ridged on the top of my nails that run from the cuticle to the end of the nail. These color and ridge changes are perfectly normal, as I understand them, and they don't bother me, just an odd consequence of chemo. 

My eyelashes begin to come in on my top lashes. I can't see any on the bottom lashes. No nose hairs that I can see. Hair continues to grow and in interesting ways. Some, very short, and others stick out making me look like a hedgehog. No wonder some of the little one laugh, others frown!

 

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Glad they paid the bill.

Joan,

I imagine the hairs will gradually normalize.  Even the nose hairs.  I imagine things are going on internally to adapt and recover too.  Food will absorb better, you will be better nourished, and settle into your new normal.

I guess my surgery was in the $50,000 range, but the health plan hasn't told me.  They sliced me open, removed 1/2 or more of my stomach, rerouted the small intestine, removed a section of liver, and  few other changes.    I'm very grateful it was possible and done so expertly.

Googling on my medication, it runs about $64,800 per year.  I expect to take it at least 5 years, if not lifelong.  The cost is a scandal - here in wikipedia.  My dose is 1/2 of that listed here, so their cost is lower than in the article.  They are not telling me what it costs the health plan, either.  They may be getting a special deal on it, but I doubt it.

It's terrible the costs are so great.  It's so amazing to have insurance to cover it.  I searched the cost in Canada - the cheapest was about $72 per pill, or $26,634 annually.  They should finance a trip for me to fly to Toronto to buy a supply, save the health plan around $37,000 a year or $187,000 over 5 years.  Roughly.  They could fly me 1st class, and put me up in a great hotel, and still come out way ahead.

I hear all of the time, people complain about their $20 copays, but it's like car insurance - people don't like the cost, until they need it.  Then, it's another story.

I'm so glad you two are insured, I hear the most horrible stories about people suffering and dying because there was no way to pay for treatment.

I second what Chris said.  The costs are outrageous.  I can't imagine when people don't have insurance.  How scary.

Thought I'd just say that I have been treated for prostate cancer for almost 6 years (it was diagnosed in February 2008). The expensive treatment has all been free on the National Health Service in Britain---the equivalent of Medicare /Obamacare, I suppose.

Long live the NHS ! 

Yes, Terry, I remember you looked so frail for a short period of time. You look bright and happy, especially since you went back to do your projects of ancient stone circles. 

Thanks for the information. Is there any serious attempt to change your health care system? 

Terence,

Glad you are doing better! 

I agree with you about the benefit of a good health care system.  If the UK decides to emulate the US system - campaign against that!  The US system is far from optimal, is expensive, unfair, and dysfunctional.

In the other hand, I have to acknowledge that the medication for my own cancer was developed at a US University, from US research, and with US funding.  I don't know what to think about that in context of what I just said.  Then again, my medication is sold for an outrageous high price that has profited the drug company many times over what their investment was.

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