Cancer kills bank accounts, too - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Cancer kills bank accounts, too

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Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012 12:00 am

Scott and Cindy Spence have been battered by two afflictions in the latter half of their 27-year marriage: Cancer, and debt.

They're surviving both, Cindy said. So far, anyway.

"Our debt is hopeless, but we don't feel hopeless," the Rathdrum resident said. "We've learned to value every day like we never did before."

They’re well aware that they’re part of an unfortunate fraternity: The tribe of cancer-ridden families who work, yet find their financial hole ever deepening.

Scott, who always boasted a healthy lifestyle, still doesn’t know what caused his multiple bouts of cancer in the past 15 years, melanoma the most recent.

The battery of surgeries and intravesical therapy has drained him physically. But that almost doesn’t compare to the oceanic cost of his treatment, Cindy said, spanning cancer centers in Seattle, Spokane and Kootenai Medical Center.

Scott's Seattle employer eliminated his position after his initial diagnosis. The 61-year-old’s current company doesn’t provide insurance. Cindy, who runs a home business, Kozy Pillow, is uninsured.

“He could get on insurance now, but his premiums would be $1,000 a month with a $10,000 deductible,” Cindy estimated. “You can’t get insurance when you have cancer.”

They try to make it work with their finite resources — which, they’re discovering, doesn’t work.

They sold their home, drained their savings, liquidated their assets and 401k. Renting a home now, they haven't had a vacation in a decade.

Scott, who would rather work than go on assistance, has been back at work designing kitchens mere days after surgery, even forgoing follow-ups to avoid extra bills.

"We can't meet (the expenses). It's not possible,” Cindy said, adding that their medical expenses hover around six figures. “It's really on God.”

To top it all, Scott just found another growth on his chest.

"We had all the things most people our age would have, and cancer took it all away," Cindy said. "We are thoroughly convinced a good part of why the cancer returns is the stress of bills from the cancer."

The Burden

It sounds assuring enough, that months to years of treatment can buy more time for cancer patients.

But even when cancer doesn't cost a life, treatment creates a whole other burden.

More than 1 million cancer survivors are foregoing cancer care because of cost, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.

It's easy to see why. The National Institutes of Health tally health expenditures associated with cancer in 2007 at $103.8 billion. About $440 million was spent on Idaho cancer patients’ direct medical costs in 2008.

Here in Idaho, low-income cancer patients regularly plummet to the safety net of county and state assistance. Counties offer $11,000 in assistance for the medically indigent, after which the state Catastrophic Health Care Program takes over.

CHCP statistics show that 335 indigent cancer patients relied on assistance for treatment costs in all 44 counties last fiscal year. Of those, 83 patients were from Kootenai County.

"Cancer has the biggest number of patients in Kootenai County," said Kathryn Mooney, CHCP director, when comparing statewide indigent applications.

Idaho counties’ and state assistance provided a total $5.1 million to indigent cancer patients last fiscal year, Mooney said.

Of that, $987,400 went to Kootenai County patients.

"With cancer, it's pretty hard to stay under $11,000," Mooney observed.

The Cost Breakdown

When Cindy Johnson, pharmacy supervisor at Kootenai Cancer Center, talks about the price of drugs for cancer treatment, she laughs.

And she groans.

"You do not want to get cancer and not have insurance," Johnson said.

She pointed to the slew of cancer-related agents used in attacking cancer cells, not just in chemotherapy and hormone therapy but also for abating treatment side effects.

The costs compare to building a house. Buying a luxury car. Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Tiffany's.

The cheaper, generic agents run about $500 to $600 per IV dose, Johnson ballparked. New oral agents can run up to $20,000 for a month's supply.

Top-shelf IV agents, like those recently produced to treat prostate cancer and malignant melanoma, can cost $50,000 to $60,000 per dose.

"That does seem excessive to me," Johnson said. "Every new drug, it's like, 'It's how much?'"

The soaring prices are what it takes for pharmaceutical companies to make money, she said. Companies invest exhaustively into researching new drugs, many of which are dead ends. To recoup their losses, companies charge accordingly for what does work.

"When they're successful, they've got to cover research and development," Johnson said.

Apparently they’re succeeding. Eli Lilly and Company, the 10th-largest pharmaceutical company in the world and a producer of chemotherapy drugs, topped $24 billion in revenue in 2011.

That said, the average cost of cancer treatment is $65,000 per case, said KCC Oncologist Karie-Lynn Kelly.

To break it down, a round of chemotherapy ranges from $20,000 to $30,000, Kelly said.

That can get steeper with certain drug combinations, she noted.

"Some agents are significantly more expensive," she said, citing one that costs $10,000 a month. "A patient might be on that for many months, or even years."

A course of radiation therapy ranges from $10,000 to $80,000, depending on length and intensity of treatment, Lynn added.

The average radiation therapy falls within $30,000 to $40,000.

While drugs drive up chemotherapy costs, Kelly said, it’s the expense of technology to blame for radiation therapy’s pricetag. Administered daily, radiation treatments can go on for several weeks, Kelly said.

As for cancer-related surgeries, KCC staff dubbed the cost range too vast to average.

"Both Medicare and private insurance will often cover the cost of treatment," Kelly said, adding that the center’s pre-authorization department determines if treatment plans can be covered.

When patients can't afford care on their own, Johnson said, KCC’s social workers step in.

That involves helping patients fill out tomes of paperwork to seek assistance from foundations, pharmaceutical companies and the county, she said.

The Kootenai Health Foundation doesn't help cover treatment. The foundation did donate $28,047 last year to help 218 patients cover treatment-related items like dietary supplements and emergency prescriptions.

"We really work hard with these individuals, to make sure people don't do without medication," Johnson said. "Sometimes it requires going back to the physician and saying, 'Is there something else that might work?'"

When other avenues fail, patients are classified as self-pay, Kelly said. Those are responsible for working out a payment plan with the cancer center and providers. KCC saw roughly 100 self-pay cancer patients last year.

"Patients have never not received treatment," Kelly emphasized.

Treatment Just One Expense

There’s a bevy of financial burdens beyond treatment that cancer patients face, reminded Melissa Halverson, executive director of Cancer Patient Care.

"When somebody is stuck with cancer, whether a parent, child, grandparent, somebody is not going to be able to work," Halverson said. "There's often a drastic reduction in income, alongside a dramatic cost increase."

Her nonprofit helps families afford basic living expenses as treatment bills pile up. CPC's assistance includes covering utility and grocery bills, providing gas vouchers for treatment commutes.

Applications for help have tripled in the past two years, Halverson said.

The nonprofit serves about 300 to 400 applicants a month in North Idaho and eastern Washington.

"It's really just an increase in overall need, because of the economic climate," Halverson said. "We've seen people lose their homes because of having to deal with cancer and loss of income in the process."

Just getting to a cancer diagnosis will deplete a checkbook, said Gail Turley, coordinator of Panhandle Health District's family planning program.

Screening costs pile up, too, she said. That’s why her program helps cover breast cancer and cervical screening low-income, uninsured or underinsured individuals.

At Medicare rates, Turley said, an annual breast exam is about $110, a paptest another $100, a trip to the gynecologist for biopsies $1,000.

A mammogram costs about $400, she added, sometimes followed by costly ultrasounds.

"For low-income people, it's just impossible," she said.

The PHD programs provided 447 women in the five northern counties with mammogram vouchers last year, and 660 women with breast and cervical cancer screening. The services are possible through the Susan G. Komen for the Cure program and the federally funded Women's Health Check.

"This past year was the first year we ran out of our Komen funding,” Turley said, blaming the economy. “We had to cut people off.”

She also signs women up for Medicaid to cover treatment, she said, through the WHC program.

"The worst situations I have seen will be those women who make $5 over income that qualifies them for these programs," she said. "They're still dirt poor, but they have nowhere else to turn."

Some can still apply for county indigent assistance, said program Manager Todd Rickard.

County Assistance fielded 57 assistance applications for cancer cases from January to October this year, Rickard said.

Kootenai County spent $292,000 on applicants' cancer treatment costs in that period.

Applicants will have to repay what they're given, Rickard reminded.

"Basically, we are the program of last resort, if a person has exhausted any or all forms of payment or insurance," he said.

Insurance Might Help

Most look to their insurance to cover the bulk of cancer treatment.

What they receive depends on what is listed in their already signed contract, said Josh Jordan, spokesman for Blue Cross of Idaho.

"Somebody's coverage is set up at the time they enroll," he said.

Blue Cross and most insurance companies follow the guidelines of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to choose what cancer treatment to cover, Jordan added. The alliance of cancer centers examines today's best practices, he said.

"We only cover procedures proven to have medicinal value," Jordan said. "If a provider or member wants a procedure that has not been shown to have medicinal value, we won't provide coverage for that."

The financial impacts on an insurance company when a member is diagnosed with cancer are tantamount to any other catastrophic event or major disease, he said. The higher the expenses, the more members will have to pay in.

"The effect is not just cancer but all those sorts of events," Jordan said. "The rising costs of healthcare in general leads to rising costs of health insurance."

Mark Fisher, insurance broker with Advanced Benefits, dubbed cancer as one of the most expensive diseases somebody can acquire.

"That's the beauty of most insurance plans having a stop loss," Fisher said, noting how members often only pay $3,000 to $8,000 out of pocket a year before their insurance takes over.

Even that doesn't leave a patient totally insulated.

Jennifer Poole, mission manager with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Boise, said that though she was insured, her family forked out $25,000 for her breast cancer treatment. That included numerous surgeries, and several years of hormone therapy.

"We had to borrow money, had to get help from people," Poole said, adding that her treatment’s duration made the out-of-pocket costs accumulate.

The family of six ended up filing for bankruptcy, she said.

"We're still rebounding," she said.

But when choosing between life and money, Poole pointed out, the decision is pretty simple.

"It's one of those things that it's just money," she said. "Frustrating as it is, you do what you have to do. It's just going to have to take time, and hopefully compassion from the bill collectors."

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  • dropzone posted at 7:39 pm on Mon, Jan 14, 2013.

    dropzone Posts: 1

    Cancer kills bank accounts, too

    By ALECIA WARREN/Staff writer | Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012 12:00 am

    Scott and Cindy Spence have been battered by two afflictions in the latter half of their 27-year marriage: Cancer, and debt.

    They're surviving both, Cindy said. So far, anyway.

    "Our debt is hopeless, but we don't feel hopeless," the Rathdrum resident said. "We've learned to value every day like we never did before."

    They’re well aware that they’re part of an unfortunate fraternity: The tribe of cancer-ridden families who work, yet find their financial hole ever deepening.

    Scott, who always boasted a healthy lifestyle, still doesn’t know what caused his multiple bouts of cancer in the past 15 years, melanoma the most recent.

    The battery of surgeries and intravesical therapy has drained him physically. But that almost doesn’t compare to the oceanic cost of his treatment, Cindy said, spanning cancer centers in Seattle, Spokane and Kootenai Medical Center.

    Scott's Seattle employer eliminated his position after his initial diagnosis. The 61-year-old’s current company doesn’t provide insurance. Cindy, who runs a home business, Kozy Pillow, is uninsured.

    “He could get on insurance now, but his premiums would be $1,000 a month with a $10,000 deductible,” Cindy estimated. “You can’t get insurance when you have cancer.”

    They try to make it work with their finite resources — which, they’re discovering, doesn’t work.

    They sold their home, drained their savings, liquidated their assets and 401k. Renting a home now, they haven't had a vacation in a decade.

    Scott, who would rather work than go on assistance, has been back at work designing kitchens mere days after surgery, even forgoing follow-ups to avoid extra bills.

    "We can't meet (the expenses). It's not possible,” Cindy said, adding that their medical expenses hover around six figures. “It's really on God.”

    To top it all, Scott just found another growth on his chest.

    "We had all the things most people our age would have, and cancer took it all away," Cindy said. "We are thoroughly convinced a good part of why the cancer returns is the stress of bills from the cancer."

    The Burden

    It sounds assuring enough, that months to years of treatment can buy more time for cancer patients.

    But even when cancer doesn't cost a life, treatment creates a whole other burden.

    More than 1 million cancer survivors are foregoing cancer care because of cost, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.

    It's easy to see why. The National Institutes of Health tally health expenditures associated with cancer in 2007 at $103.8 billion. About $440 million was spent on Idaho cancer patients’ direct medical costs in 2008.

    Here in Idaho, low-income cancer patients regularly plummet to the safety net of county and state assistance. Counties offer $11,000 in assistance for the medically indigent, after which the state Catastrophic Health Care Program takes over.

    CHCP statistics show that 335 indigent cancer patients relied on assistance for treatment costs in all 44 counties last fiscal year. Of those, 83 patients were from Kootenai County.

    "Cancer has the biggest number of patients in Kootenai County," said Kathryn Mooney, CHCP director, when comparing statewide indigent applications.

    Idaho counties’ and state assistance provided a total $5.1 million to indigent cancer patients last fiscal year, Mooney said.

    Of that, $987,400 went to Kootenai County patients.

    "With cancer, it's pretty hard to stay under $11,000," Mooney observed.

    The Cost Breakdown

    When Cindy Johnson, pharmacy supervisor at Kootenai Cancer Center, talks about the price of drugs for cancer treatment, she laughs.

    And she groans.

    "You do not want to get cancer and not have insurance," Johnson said.

    She pointed to the slew of cancer-related agents used in attacking cancer cells, not just in chemotherapy and hormone therapy but also for abating treatment side effects.

    The costs compare to building a house. Buying a luxury car. Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Tiffany's.

    The cheaper, generic agents run about $500 to $600 per IV dose, Johnson ballparked. New oral agents can run up to $20,000 for a month's supply.

    Top-shelf IV agents, like those recently produced to treat prostate cancer and malignant melanoma, can cost $50,000 to $60,000 per dose.

    "That does seem excessive to me," Johnson said. "Every new drug, it's like, 'It's how much?'"

    The soaring prices are what it takes for pharmaceutical companies to make money, she said. Companies invest exhaustively into researching new drugs, many of which are dead ends. To recoup their losses, companies charge accordingly for what does work.

    "When they're successful, they've got to cover research and development," Johnson said.

    Apparently they’re succeeding. Eli Lilly and Company, the 10th-largest pharmaceutical company in the world and a producer of chemotherapy drugs, topped $24 billion in revenue in 2011.

    That said, the average cost of cancer treatment is $65,000 per case, said KCC Oncologist Karie-Lynn Kelly.

    To break it down, a round of chemotherapy ranges from $20,000 to $30,000, Kelly said.

    That can get steeper with certain drug combinations, she noted.

    "Some agents are significantly more expensive," she said, citing one that costs $10,000 a month. "A patient might be on that for many months, or even years."

    A course of radiation therapy ranges from $10,000 to $80,000, depending on length and intensity of treatment, Lynn added.

    The average radiation therapy falls within $30,000 to $40,000.

    While drugs drive up chemotherapy costs, Kelly said, it’s the expense of technology to blame for radiation therapy’s pricetag. Administered daily, radiation treatments can go on for several weeks, Kelly said.

    As for cancer-related surgeries, KCC staff dubbed the cost range too vast to average.

    "Both Medicare and private insurance will often cover the cost of treatment," Kelly said, adding that the center’s pre-authorization department determines if treatment plans can be covered.

    When patients can't afford care on their own, Johnson said, KCC’s social workers step in.

    That involves helping patients fill out tomes of paperwork to seek assistance from foundations, pharmaceutical companies and the county, she said.

    The Kootenai Health Foundation doesn't help cover treatment. The foundation did donate $28,047 last year to help 218 patients cover treatment-related items like dietary supplements and emergency prescriptions.

    "We really work hard with these individuals, to make sure people don't do without medication," Johnson said. "Sometimes it requires going back to the physician and saying, 'Is there something else that might work?'"

    When other avenues fail, patients are classified as self-pay, Kelly said. Those are responsible for working out a payment plan with the cancer center and providers. KCC saw roughly 100 self-pay cancer patients last year.

    "Patients have never not received treatment," Kelly emphasized.

    Treatment Just One Expense

    There’s a bevy of financial burdens beyond treatment that cancer patients face, reminded Melissa Halverson, executive director of Cancer Patient Care.

    "When somebody is stuck with cancer, whether a parent, child, grandparent, somebody is not going to be able to work," Halverson said. "There's often a drastic reduction in income, alongside a dramatic cost increase."

    Her nonprofit helps families afford basic living expenses as treatment bills pile up. CPC's assistance includes covering utility and grocery bills, providing gas vouchers for treatment commutes.

    Applications for help have tripled in the past two years, Halverson said.

    The nonprofit serves about 300 to 400 applicants a month in North Idaho and eastern Washington.

    "It's really just an increase in overall need, because of the economic climate," Halverson said. "We've seen people lose their homes because of having to deal with cancer and loss of income in the process."

    Just getting to a cancer diagnosis will deplete a checkbook, said Gail Turley, coordinator of Panhandle Health District's family planning program.

    Screening costs pile up, too, she said. That’s why her program helps cover breast cancer and cervical screening low-income, uninsured or underinsured individuals.

    At Medicare rates, Turley said, an annual breast exam is about $110, a paptest another $100, a trip to the gynecologist for biopsies $1,000.

    A mammogram costs about $400, she added, sometimes followed by costly ultrasounds.

    "For low-income people, it's just impossible," she said.

    The PHD programs provided 447 women in the five northern counties with mammogram vouchers last year, and 660 women with breast and cervical cancer screening. The services are possible through the Susan G. Komen for the Cure program and the federally funded Women's Health Check.

    "This past year was the first year we ran out of our Komen funding,” Turley said, blaming the economy. “We had to cut people off.”

    She also signs women up for Medicaid to cover treatment, she said, through the WHC program.

    "The worst situations I have seen will be those women who make $5 over income that qualifies them for these programs," she said. "They're still dirt poor, but they have nowhere else to turn."

    Some can still apply for county indigent assistance, said program Manager Todd Rickard.

    County Assistance fielded 57 assistance applications for cancer cases from January to October this year, Rickard said.

    Kootenai County spent $292,000 on applicants' cancer treatment costs in that period.

    Applicants will have to repay what they're given, Rickard reminded.

    "Basically, we are the program of last resort, if a person has exhausted any or all forms of payment or insurance," he said.

    Insurance Might Help

    Most look to their insurance to cover the bulk of cancer treatment.

    What they receive depends on what is listed in their already signed contract, said Josh Jordan, spokesman for Blue Cross of Idaho.

    "Somebody's coverage is set up at the time they enroll," he said.

    Blue Cross and most insurance companies follow the guidelines of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to choose what cancer treatment to cover, Jordan added. The alliance of cancer centers examines today's best practices, he said.

    "We only cover procedures proven to have medicinal value," Jordan said. "If a provider or member wants a procedure that has not been shown to have medicinal value, we won't provide coverage for that."

    The financial impacts on an insurance company when a member is diagnosed with cancer are tantamount to any other catastrophic event or major disease, he said. The higher the expenses, the more members will have to pay in.

    "The effect is not just cancer but all those sorts of events," Jordan said. "The rising costs of healthcare in general leads to rising costs of health insurance."

    Mark Fisher, insurance broker with Advanced Benefits, dubbed cancer as one of the most expensive diseases somebody can acquire.

    "That's the beauty of most insurance plans having a stop loss," Fisher said, noting how members often only pay $3,000 to $8,000 out of pocket a year before their insurance takes over.

    Even that doesn't leave a patient totally insulated.

    Jennifer Poole, mission manager with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Boise, said that though she was insured, her family forked out $25,000 for her breast cancer treatment. That included numerous surgeries, and several years of hormone therapy.

    "We had to borrow money, had to get help from people," Poole said, adding that her treatment’s duration made the out-of-pocket costs accumulate.

    The family of six ended up filing for bankruptcy, she said.

    "We're still rebounding," she said.

    But when choosing between life and money, Poole pointed out, the decision is pretty simple.

    "It's one of those things that it's just money," she said. "Frustrating as it is, you do what you have to do. It's just going to have to take time, and hopefully compassion from the bill collectors."

     
  • KayEllen48 posted at 7:55 pm on Fri, Nov 30, 2012.

    KayEllen48 Posts: 89

    This is an example of why we need single-payer health insurance - Medicare for All. The burden of health insurance should be taken away from employers. The way to fix Medicare is to lower the eligible age, not raise it. Allow younger people (who are often healthier) to buy into a Medicare Plan - a public option. It's how insurance works - the larger the pool, the lower the cost. Even if the public option was only a high-deductible plan instead of all the benefits that Medicare provides to those over 65 who have paid into it for years, it would keep people like Scott and Cindy Spence out of this terrible situation. No one in this country should die or face financial ruin for lack of health insurance.

     
  • KayEllen48 posted at 7:38 pm on Fri, Nov 30, 2012.

    KayEllen48 Posts: 89

    Hospitals cannot deny service in an emergency situation. Whether or not they are private or public. But once the patient is stabilized, there is no requirement to provide surgery or specialized treatment for a illness or injury. For patients who use the emergency room, they are stabilized and told to see their primary care physician - who can refuse to take patients without the ability to pay.

     
  • KayEllen48 posted at 7:27 pm on Fri, Nov 30, 2012.

    KayEllen48 Posts: 89

    OK, the cell phone comment just makes you look stupid. Just because a crazy lady who didn't know what she was talking about was caught on tape ranting about getting free cell phone from Obama does not make it true. The program has been in existence since 1985 (Reagan) that subsidizes phone service for the very poor to ensure they have phone service in the case of emergencies. It was expanded during the Bush Administration to include cell service. Obama had NOTHING to do with it. Maybe it is a program that costs too much and needs to be changed, but it has NOTHING to do with this discussion or with the current administration, or the cost of healthcare.

     
  • Peter posted at 5:29 pm on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    Peter Posts: 638

    Amongst all our free democratic industrialized peers we are the only country where this kind b.s. happens to those who are ill. American exceptionalism...

     
  • Why Not posted at 10:28 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    Why Not Posts: 4518

    Sorry but you are incorrect WIN, the only hospital that can legally deny treatment is one that does not accept any form of government sponsored reimbursement, e.g. Medicare, Medicaid. There are a host of rules governing the treatment of the indigent, uninsured and even non citizens, but of course you realize that. Wasn't the daughter of one of Mexico's most notorious drug bosses recently caught trying to deliver a bambino in CA?

     
  • WIN posted at 7:49 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    WIN Posts: 3

    Providers can deny service. When someone with life threatening cancer goes into the emergency room, the emergency doc is NOT going to operate on their cancer. They tell you to make an appointment to see a cancer specialist. Yes, that specialist can deny service.

     
  • WIN posted at 7:46 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    WIN Posts: 3

    It seems to me that, if you are "poor", you qualify for better medical treatment. Those on welfare get medical treatment paid for (along with food and now free cell phones), while hard working men without insurance, like Scott Spence, fall into a category that cannot be helped because they earn a modest wage.

     
  • WIN posted at 7:42 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    WIN Posts: 3

    How can you file bankruptcy on the doctors and the hospitals that are keeping you alive? These cancers Scott is fighting are reocurrant. It's not a "one time" thing.

     
  • Why Not posted at 5:17 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    Why Not Posts: 4518

    B...S dude, no provider can deny service. They might not give you an appointment and that's why the uninsured use the EMERGENCY ROOM.

    Don't blame the medical providers for the high cost, blame litigation. Same goes for all those drugs that Americans want. Is it really the little companies who work on improved treatments, or is it the government and the lawyers who make it impossible to blend even aspirin? Ever wonder about whether all those warnings on drug commercials are real or perceived? They cover every possible side effect for a reason CaiusC, to keep the litigators at bay.

     
  • Why Not posted at 5:07 am on Tue, Nov 27, 2012.

    Why Not Posts: 4518

    Concernedcitizen - Personally, I work for a multinational which has transportable health insurance. Under ERICA many employers, mine included, are shall we say encouraging employees to self insure by offering to help fund accounts. This is one of the aspects of ACA that isn't getting a whole lot of attention from the Obama lovin press. Large employers are rapidly purging healthcare plans in favor of self insurance schemes. It works like a 401K, your employer offers an enticement, say 2-3 grand annually, and the employee pays into a tax free account. You manage the account for health expenses, including purchasing insurance. You can also invest this money and unlike an FSA, you keep the money at the end of the year. It's actually an attractive alternative for people who know what they are doing. The bottom line is that you can use this money however you want for healthcare, including going to a foreign country.

     
  • aayupp posted at 9:38 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    aayupp Posts: 316

    bankruptcy --its a good thing when it comes to medical bills. caius-so correct like the lush larry hagman who got a liver in 6 months when he destroyrd his own with booze. you get the cash-you get the liver. you others wait in line until you get to sick then you die.

     
  • CaiusCosades posted at 8:20 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    CaiusCosades Posts: 380

    It's sad we live in a country where if you get sick and you're rich, you live, if you're poor, hospitals/doctors/big pharma watch you die sitting on their hands.

     
  • concernedcitizen posted at 4:31 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    We already have a problem with the healthcare industry. We do not need government bureaucracy making matters worse.

     
  • truthful1 posted at 11:30 am on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    truthful1 Posts: 554

    Maybe, perhaps, Obamacare could help this situation.

     
  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:39 am on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    I do not know what insurance you have Why Not but most insurance will not even cross state lines let alone go out of the country for treatment.

    Other than that, I agree whole heartily that blood sucking parasites, I mean lawyers not mosquitoes, are the cause of 98% of this countries woes.

     
  • Why Not posted at 5:47 am on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    Why Not Posts: 4518

    I disagree; it's not necessarily the medical and pharmaceutical companies who are to blame for the high cost.

    1-Few drug discoveries and treatment options are approved for human use by the FDA. In a case like Scott’s there are potential drugs in various stages of the FDA review, very few will be approved in America and the time and cost are long and costly. If there are desperate people who may die otherwise, why not let them have access to these drugs?
    2-Private investors are the source of money that develops treatment options. Most new technologies are developed by small independent companies which are bought by the big pharmaceuticals when they have a promising discovery, something is wrong with this practice. However, it is driven by the cost and time to develop marketable products.
    3-Liability - The single biggest lobby in Washington……Lawyers. The legal lobby gives individually, so the exact amount it hard to trace, but it’s a lot and another thing about lawyers, the “Clowngress” is chuck full of failed ambulance chasers. At the bottom of this whole cost and time issue is your friendly ambulance chasing attorney…”One Call that’s All Folks.”

    Personally, if I was hit with the big C I would be on the Big Bird and heased to India or Thailand for treatment. My insurance doesn't care where I'm treated, the quality of treatment is top notch and it costs about a third of what we pay, but you can't sue if you are unhappy about the result.

     
  • voxpop posted at 4:38 am on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Exactly Bill, except you're being too kind. Your "disgrace" is my "criminal." Thanks entirely to lobbying (ie - bribing) of Congress the "medical industrial complex" ruthlessly squeezes the economy. The only solution is simple, yet impossible while govt goes hand in hand with Big Business. Take the medical industry in all its facets and nationalize it. Will there be fewer $60K/dose drugs, which extend life by months? Likely. But the world will be a better place and more people will be better off. And if you disagree - fine. Give up YOUR subsidized health care and then think about it again.

     
  • BoxcarBill posted at 12:38 am on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    BoxcarBill Posts: 1074

    The medical and pharma monopolies in this country are a disgrace.

     
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