Total out-of-pocket medical costs for women with private health insurance are higher than for women without, according to a new report by Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).
Women without health insurance paid around A$3,600 (US$2,825) in out-of-pocket costs while women with private health insurance pay around A$7,000 for treatment in the private health system. One quarter of privately insured women reported out-of-pocket costs greater than A$21,000.
The report, titled “The financial impact of breast cancer”, showed that there is a large disparity across the country in the out-of-pocket costs women face following a breast cancer diagnosis. While some women (12%) reported no out-of-pocket costs, one quarter (25%) of all women who completed the survey reported costs of more than A$17,200.
These figures do not take into account lost wages if a woman needs to take time off work or reduce her hours because of breast cancer treatment.
The report is based on a survey of almost 2,000 Australian women who shared the out-of-pocket costs they faced when diagnosed with breast cancer, and how these costs impacted their financial situation.
BCNA CEO Christine Nolan said: “Our report has confirmed that breast cancer can have a significant financial impact on women and their families, which can last many years after the initial diagnosis.”
“We hope that private health insurance companies, government and health service providers will consider our recommendations and work together to reduce the financial impact on Australians with breast cancer,” she said.