Managing the cost of breast cancer webcast: tips and resources 16th Sept 7-8pm AEST

[Deleted User]
[Deleted User] Posts: 0
edited September 2021 in General discussion
Hi everyone,

BCNA are holding a webcast on Thursday 16 September, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm AEST on managing the cost of breast cancer: tips and resources. 

For many people with breast cancer, the financial costs associated with treatment and care can be substantial. General day-to-day expenses continue, while you may also have to pay for specialist appointments, tests and scans, medicines and other treatments, counselling, travel and so on.

If you're unable to continue in paid work, the loss of income can also contribute to financial pressure on you and your family. Even when treatment is finished, you may still struggle financially, or you may face the longer-term impacts of ongoing care.

For some people, getting by financially is no easy task, even at the best of times. Money worries can have a big impact on how you and your family cope. Informed financial consent requires people to have information about costs and support to make informed decisions about their care. 

We will hear from Financial Counsellor at Cancer Council Victoria, Antony Mitchell who has a community focus and experience with working with a number of not for profits, and BCNA Consumer Representative Jodie Lydeker who was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer 3 years ago, and detected again in 2021. Jodie will share insight into her lived experience of the financial stress associated with the disease.

In this webcast we will explore managing the costs of breast cancer including informed financial consent, public vs private healthcare, hidden and common out-of-pocket costs, questions to ask your healthcare provider, financial wellbeing, career impacts, issues for those who live in rural and remote areas and the resources and support available to you.

To register, please follow this link,

Event Details 

When: Thursday, 16 September 2021
What Time:
 07:00 PM AEST - 08:00 PM AEST
Local Times:
- WA: 5:00 PM 

- NT, SA: 6:30 PM
- QLD, ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC: 7:00 PM


  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,033
    Hi in case I can’t get to this, one issue I have is the completely unrealistic amount of the scheduled fee on Medicare for procedures which is important in terms of amounts you get back from Medicare and your private health fund for surgery in the private system.
    I am in a private health fund which covered 100 percent of my accommodation costs in a private hospital for my mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction  but I had huge out of pocket expenses mainly as the Medicare schedule fee was so ridiculously low  for the various Doctors and their procedures ( including the anaesthetist) .
    I wrote to my local Federal MP who is part of the current ruling party and he said among other things “ you could have had your surgery in the public hospital system  for free “.
    Apart from the fact that if all private patients had their surgery in the public system it would not be able to cope, this didn’t address the fact that the Medicare schedule fee for breast cancer surgery is completely inadequate having regard to the real cost of a competent surgeon running a practice.
  • cranky_granny
    cranky_granny Member Posts: 624
    Im registered very interested in what i can get out of it 
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,260
    I had about $7000 out of pocket expenses - $3-4000 from the surgery, that I was aware of and agreed to ... but After my surgery, I was stunned to have to pay $500 towards my own pathology bill .... it’s not as if it was cosmetic or something unnecessary.  No-one could explain why there was a $500 gap. .... and then there was a $4-500 fee for attending the private hospital that I was in, as NIB didn’t have an ‘agreement’ with them!   Many of my tests/scans had a gap of between $80-100 that had to be paid every time ... and sadly, it all adds up even tho, like @Julez1958, We also have top level private cover.    :(  

    If you live outside of city areas, and have to attend specialists there, there are also fairly large gaps in accomodation costs that even the local IPTASS schemes don’t cover as much as they could .... 
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,438

    Julez1958 said:

    I wrote to my local Federal MP who is part of the current ruling party and he said among other things “ you could have had your surgery in the public hospital system  for free “.

    What a shocking insensitive statement from your MP.  Obviously missed the point - why is the Medicare rebate so small.  Goodness we didn't ask to be Cancer patients!  
  • Maxymoo
    Maxymoo Member Posts: 9
    Breast cancer predominantly affects women who are more financially disadvantaged than men. Lower incomes, less super/ retirement income, time out of the workforce due to child rearing etc. The Federal government sneakily changed the Medicare rebates as of the 1/7  when everyone was focussed on COVID making the out of pockets even for public patients exorbitant, especially radiation therapy. The costs are so high I fear some people may not go ahead with treatment. We need to fight back! They know we’re worn out from cancer treatment and won’t have the energy or resources to do much. If your interested in this topic feel free to message me privately.
    I can’t help much with out of pocket private health insurance gaps, private health insurance has always been a flawed product and when my partner was recently retrenched we had to give it up. I had to go public for my surgery which was free, chemo some minor out of pocket but radiation $8000 upfront! Toooooo much
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,260
    edited September 2021
    OMG - @Maxymoo - that sounds disgusting ...... Do you have a link to where this change in Medicare rebates was announced?   I couldn't find any new ones ... That $$ would be what I would have expected if I were going private for Rads ... I did the opposite of you - private for Surgery and public for Rads. No chemo. 

    Everyone definitely needs to ask up front what any expected costs will be ..... but still be prepared for unexpected ones too (as they tend to sneak up on you!) :(

    From 2019 ..... expected out of pocket expenses for cancer treatment:
  • Locksley
    Locksley Member Posts: 891
    @Maxymoo do I read your post correctly your public radiation was $8000?  

    I do recall seeing could have been my google feed that the government was making changes to some procedures with Medicare rebates and there could be more out of pocket expenses for patients.  But I could never find any more info.  I remember saying to my hubby I wonder what will be sneaked through as all we were hearing was about covid.
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,179
    My radium treatment was $23000 upfront but in rolling amounts. I had hit the Medicare threshold so I got 85% back. So I had to use my credit card. Had to clear the credit card first to be able to pay. For example paid $10000 and Medicare paid $8500 same day, then $8000 and Medicare paid 85% back same day, then balance etc. 

    My chemo was covered  hospital covered by private health but massive out of pocket costs for surgeon and oncologist appointments unless they were in hospital. All this onto of my private health premiums. It is such a flawed system. The Medicare schedule fees are way too low.  I think my treatment cost is over $20k for last year and this year I had another surgery and other health costs so looking at a similar figure this year. 

    I have had private cover all my life but seriously feel it is questionable. It did help access treatment quickly and i had good doctors and treatment but so does the public system. Seems I pay private health to pay even more. 
  • Locksley
    Locksley Member Posts: 891
    Gosh @Cath62 that's such a lot of money and to ask for it up front.  Wow.
  • Mez_BCNA
    Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 761
    Reminder to join this informative webcast happening tonight (You can register

    Hope you enjoy the session
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,260
  • Good morning everyone! To access the on-demand link for the webcast held last Thursday, please click below.
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,033
    Hi I listened to the webcast and it was very good.