Cancer can be an expensive experience. Not only is there the direct and associated costs of treatment (regardless of whether you choose the public or private health system), but you may have to reduce your work hours, further impacting your finances.
You have the right to know the costs of your treatment, at the beginning as well as at each stage of treatment. You are also allowed to enquire about options for receiving a similar level of care at a lower cost. This is called Informed Financial Consent.
Being treated in the private health sector? Contact your private health fund to enquire about what is included under your cover and any payment ‘gaps’ or co-payments you will need to pay.
Even if your treatment is covered by the public health system, the costs incurred from the additional fuel, hospital parking fees, and take home medications can add up and impact your hip pocket. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at your financial situation early on.
Financial counsellors can help you with this. They can look into what assistance is available to you, from your own financial institutions, and other sources, to ensure you do not fall into financial difficulty due to undergoing cancer treatment. With your permission, they may also be able to negotiate on your behalf (with the bank, Centrelink, superannuation etc).
Most major cancer hospitals have dedicated cancer social workers who can also help – ask your nurses for a referral.
This financial support is available to help people just like you. You should not feel embarrassed to ask for help.
- Practical and financial assistance
- Cancer Council also offer a one-off financial assistance grant to assist with living expenses. Call 13 11 20 to talk to your state office.
- Cancer and your finances (WA site)
- What will I have to pay for treatment?
- Questions to ask your health professional
- Pancare offer financial assistance to people affected by a diagnosis of upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer.
- Find out what is covered under Australia’s public health system, and for information on the Medicare Safety Nets.
- Chronic Disease Management Plans (CDM) for ongoing health issues, including those associated with cancer treatment. It provides a rebate for up to five allied health appointments per calendar year (dependent on provider fees, there may be a gap), such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology, dietitian and exercise physiologist. Talk to your GP about developing a CDMP.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidises prescription medicine.
- If you need lots of medicine during the year, the PBS Safety Net can help reduce the costs.
- ATO Accessing superannuation early (it is highly recommended that you speak with a financial counsellor or advisor before withdrawing superannuation)
State specific help