Private health insurance

GlynnisGlynnis Member Posts: 127
hi everyone, just wanted to get some advice please if anyone can help. I was diagnosed with early breast cancer in 2014, had treatments in 2015, we have private health insurance then and now, we are struggling to pay the private cover now due to hubby being unable to work due to ill health, my questions is if we drop the private health cover which we have had for 17 years, how do you go with the public system Should the cancer return? Are you seen straight away ect, any advice would be appreciated, tia Glynnis


  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 2,995
    Hi Glynnis, do you still have your Private Surgeon?? and do you see them yearly? Just wondering if you can do your yearly with them, obviously it would cost you, but then ask in the event it happened again who'd they recommend. 

    My Surgeon is private, I've had him 6 yrs and 2 diagnosis, i did treatment private but a year after I finished I did a Mastectomy/diep flap through public as he works there too, so I kept him and a Plastic Surgeon he works with and no out of pocket. 

    Melinda xo
  • GlynnisGlynnis Member Posts: 127
    Thanks Melinda yes we still have it at the moment, yes can still see my surgeon and oncologist, will ask that question too if the do public, just out of interest do you still have your private health? If so who are you with? We are looking into other providers for costs etc thinking about taking just a single cover out.
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 2,995
    Glynnis, I actually did the iselect around tax time. I was with NIB and now I am with HCF, basic hospital and extras. I'd definitely ask them, as then you can just do your normal appts with them and if anything ever happened you'll have some recommendations. You may never need them again either :) xx
  • GlynnisGlynnis Member Posts: 127
    Thanks again Melinda, yes have looked at HCF, yes we hope none of us ever need it again take care
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 261
    @Glynnis, I am a public patient with other preexisting medical conditions including an overlap of three different autoimmune diseases. Whilst in hospital for multiple tests to establish the extent of internal damage (heart, lungs, kidneys etc), from one of them, the breast cancer turned up in a chest CT scan. Straight away, that is that same day, my rheumatologist handed me over to oncology and a breast surgeon. He said that he would have to then take a back seat and that the cancer took priority. The next few days was a flurry of every test you can think of, biopsies, bone scans, you name it I had it. Cost to me...$00.00. I had a port put in and chemo started within two weeks from diagnosis. Surgery was booked and in place to happen as soon as the chemo was finished. Continuing Herceptin for another 17 cycles altogether. Yes, I didn't get to choose my surgeon or my oncologist, but if I had, how would I have known who to choose? During my AC chemo, I spent a total of 56 days in hospital due to severe side effects as well as it interacting with my other medical issues. After my bilateral mastectomy, the day after Anzac day, I spent 11 days in ICU and then another 5 days on the general ward. Cost to me $00.00. I have had some charges for drugs to take before my chemo, as well as the Neulasta injections I had to have for the neutropaenia. These were covered under the PBS and the most I paid was $38.80 per script. I am now also having physiotherapy as well as hydrotherapy, again as a public patient. Cost to me $00.00. I am very grateful for the treatment I have received and which I am entitled to. This is what I (previously), and my husband, still currently pays taxes and the Medicare Levy for.
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 2,995
    I agree with @Allyjay in that instance it really doesn't matter. I think though when you've already got your Surgeon and Oncologist you have your history and rapport with them, so I know when I had a recurrence I was comfortable with my Surgeon. I had no issues really with Public but again depends on your circumstances, either way you would be looked after no matter what. xx I did like the $0 cost otherwise it would have cost me $10,000 even with private health cover.
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,645
    I think it depends where you live, what your intentions are regarding 'elective' surgeries and how patient you are. I've had two BC treatments ten years apart. I've had to pay for a pet scan and bone density scans and discharge meds when I've been admitted to hospital. Thats it.
    Personally, private health would not have been helpful as we have a lack of choice here anyway.
  • GlynnisGlynnis Member Posts: 127
    Thankyou @Allyjay, that has put my mind at ease quite a bit, yes I do have great rapport with my oncologist, I think she might do the public system as well, I think the most frightening bit about dropping it is not being seen straight away but from the couple people I have spoken to they like you Allyjay have been seen straight away and the cancer dealt with straight away. It's hard stepping out of your box and making changes, but I'm now confident that I'll be ok god forbid it ever returns in the public system.
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 261
    @Glynnis, you're welcome. I think if you're in the public system, and the medical care is not deemed urgent or life threatening, then, certainly, you'll have to wait your own sweet time. Stuff like hip replacements and even hysterectomies, (if the condition not urgent, but nuisance or quality of life only being affected), and such like stand in the queue and wait their turn. However my care has been excellent, even although both my surgeon and oncologist are not, shall I say, of the warm and fuzzy variety, or the arms around the shoulders with gentle pats on the back kind. However, I haven't interacted with them for those qualities. So long as my oncologist knows her stuff, (she does), and my surgeon knew how to use her knife and fork (she did). I have no quarrel. My husband of 38 years has also received excellent care in the public system after suffering a massive heart attack 10 years ago. he basically dropped dead in the car, but that's another story. He was in ICU for two weeks, general ward for another four weeks, stent, cardiac rehab, defribrillator/ pacemaker plus a new one when the battery need replacing as well as all the other stuff with it, cost us zero for hospital charges. He pays for his meds, and his cardiologist charges him medicare rates...what a lovely man... So, at the end of the day, if the shit hits the fan, the public system is as good as private. in my view.
  • GlynnisGlynnis Member Posts: 127
    Thanks again @Allyjay much appreciate your side to this, makes it much easier to make a desicion
  • GlynnisGlynnis Member Posts: 127
    Thankyou @Zoffiel
  • UnicornkissesUnicornkisses Central CoastMember Posts: 395
    I have private health cover. My Oncologist and Surgeon both work in the public health system. The difference it would have made to me for surgery if I chose public for my operation was one week. I have been admitted to both the public and private hospitals for high temps during chemo and the care was exactly the same, perhaps even better in the public hospital, it's just that I didn't have a private room or bathroom. 

    I am going public with my plastic surgeon for reconstruction too.

    I see my surgeon and Oncologist of choice and Medicare pays some of the cost for consultations.
    My health fund doesn't cover consultations anyway, so no advantage to having private health cover there.
    So you can do it that way, and go to the public hospital for treatment if you like, you just have to check if your surgeon etc will work in the public system.

    I think it depends too if you have access to an excellent Cancer Centre at your public hospital. We have one on NSW Central Coast, so going public is a good option.
  • GlynnisGlynnis Member Posts: 127
    Thankyou unicornkisses I think I'm heading towards public just got to check with my oncologist and breast surgeons as to whether they are in the public system as well, it's great to hear from people who have seen and been treated in both side
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