Health Insurance Companies Now Dictate Your Cancer Care, To Your Detriment
I was disappointed (but not particularly surprised) to read a May 27, 2014 Wall Street Journal article yesterday, Insurers Push To Rein In Spending on Cancer Care.
For those of you who haven’t read it, please read that article. It is ultra clear that certain insurance companies may not have your best health interests in mind, nor might your oncologist.
The fact I found most disgusting is that there are insurance companies in the USA offering oncologists $350.00 per month PER CANCER PATIENT if the oncologist puts that patient on the insurance company’s recommended regimen for the purpose of cost control and keeping expenses down.
Not too surprising, as some chemotherapy drugs can run over $100,000 per patient per year.
But think about that – if an oncologist has 250 patients, and only 100 of them are on the insurance company’s “recommended regimen”, that equates to $35,000 per month to the oncologist, or $420,000 per year. What oncologist is going to pass that up?
What this means to you as a cancer patient is that the insurance company doesn’t care about you. At all. Which probably comes as no surprise. Insurance companies just want to keep down costs associated with cancer treatments, and if your oncologist is one of those who gets paid $350.00 per month to put you on the routine recommended treatment regime dictated by the insurance company, you will be afforded less individualized care by that oncologist.
Still think your oncologist is working with your best interests at heart?
Your particular health situation might require more expensive chemo drugs than what the insurance company wants to pay for. For instance, some of the newer drugs such as Kadcyla (aka TDM1), approved by the FDA in February 2013, is a new targeted therapy for women with HER2-positive secondary breast cancer. It combines a chemotherapy drug (emtansine) with Herceptin. The treatment is delivered directly to the cancer cells, so the body’s healthy cells are not affected, which means that many of the usual side effects associated with chemotherapy, including nausea, hair loss, and vomiting, are avoided. But the cost of it in the USA is $9,800 per month.
Do you think you’ll be offered this drug if your insurance company is one of those committed only to the bottom line and not the patient?
Mainstream medicine is BROKEN, people. The patient takes it on the chin again. Our standard of care, especially for cancer patients, is not only deplorable but unaffordable. Big pharma and the insurance companies are running the cancer show, that much is perfectly obvious.
All the more reason why we as human beings would be better off putting our health insurance dollars into some kind of self-managed health care fund from the moment we’re born (like a college fund) and seeking the treatment providers who actually make a difference to us. For cancer patients, in my opinion, that would be naturopaths, oncology naturopaths and integrative oncologists like Brian Lawenda (and, of course, cancer coaches!).
How to fight back? Become self-empowered activists for your own health. Ask your insurance company if it is one of those paying oncologists for recommending their treatment protocol. Ask your oncologist. If they are doing this, go find someone else who isn’t. Better yet, find yourself a good integrative oncologist. We vote best with our money. If you need help locating someone, contact me.
The health care industry is so screwed up, who knows when it will (if ever) be sorted out and fixed. As usual, it’s up to US to be informed and to make the health choices we need to make to get well.
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