42% of new cancer patients lose their life savings — A new study delivers the dark financial reality of cancer.

via bigthink:

  • 62 percent of cancer patients report being in debt due to their treatment.
  • 55 percent accrue at least $10,000 in debt, while 3 percent file for bankruptcy.
  • Cancer costs exceed $80 billion in America each year.

Rebecca Meyer was diagnosed with glioblastoma when she was 5 years old. She fought bravely for 10 months before dying on her 6th birthday. The total cost of of her treatments during that time? $1,691,627.45.

Cancer is costly, emotionally and socially. But it’s especially pricey in terms of money. The stress of being unable to pay for treatment doesn’t help your immune system while going through chemotherapy or radiation. It’s impossible to relieve yourself of tension when your medical costs are bankrupting you and your family.

This is more common than you might imagine. A new study, published this month in The American Journal of Medicine, discovered that 42 percent of patients deplete their life savings during the first two years of treatment. There’s good reason the term “financial toxicity” is in the name of this report.

Of the 9.5 million cancer diagnoses studied between 2000–2012, researchers discovered that 42.4 percent of patients (median age 68.6±9.4 years) spent all of their money, averaging $92,098. This follows disturbing news from earlier this year that 40 percent of Americans can’t afford to pay $400 in case of an emergency. The math is not adding up.

Financial toxicity led Fumiko Chino to co-write a research letter in JAMA Oncology last November. After her husband surpassed his insurance policy’s $500,000 lifetime limit, Chino drained her savings to pay for his treatment. When he died, she was left hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.In her study of 300 cancer patients, Chino and team discovered that over one-third of them had to pay more than expected for their care, which put a strain on their decision-making process.

Facing unexpected treatment costs was associated with lower willingness to pay for care, even when adjusting for financial burden. This suggests that unpreparedness for treatment-related expenses may impact future cost-conscious decision making.

A 2016 systematic review of 45 studies, published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that up to 62 percent of patients report being in debt due to treatment. Another study of over 4,700 patients from that year discovered that 55 percent accrued at least $10,000 in debt, while 3 percent filed for bankruptcy.

Cancer costs exceed $80 billion in America each year. Over half of all cancer patients “experienced house repossession, bankruptcy, loss of independence, and relationship breakdowns.” Up to 85 percent of patients have to stop working for up to six months, putting further strain on their finances.

Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in America.

So for all of the people who say we have this great healthcare system and that they don’t have a better system in say Canada, the UK, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Australia and the rest of the developed world, how can you possibly think that when medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country?

Also 1 out of every 3 GoFundMe’s in America are to pay someone’s medical bills.

That is completely f*cked and not an indicator of a developed or moral society.

We have the resources to provide medical care to every US citizen yet we don’t, simply because of the profit motive.

The worst part about our for-profit, capitalist healthcare system is that if you need follow-up or preventative care for your cancer, and you have declared bankruptcy due to medical bills, hospitals can deny you follow-up or preventative treatment for your cancer. In other words, because you are stable today, we are going to just let your cancer get worst and worst until you are at the point that you are dying, and it’s going to be a lot more expensive to treat, then our for-profit healthcare system jumps into action, when you are at your weakest and easiest to exploit, that’s when they swoop in to pick the bones clean.

This is how you end up with a f*cked up statistic like 42% of new cancer patients losing their life savings being the prevailing order of the day.

Also as an aside, we don’t get shit in return for our tax dollars here in the United States. Canadians get so much more bang for their tax dollar buck. They get free healthcare, paid maternity leave, guaranteed vacation time provided by the government and a bunch of other things.

We Americans get f*cked because we don’t get shit back for our taxes, just the knowledge that some poor, brown country somewhere is being bombed into oblivion using our tax dollars, which I don’t about you, I would rather see spent on something that actually benefited my life in a tangle, positive way.



h/t User_Name13


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