- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer care and your rights
- Navigating the health care system
- Ways to manage health care costs
Ways to manage health care costs
- Ask your health care provider for a written quote outlining their fees. If you receive a much higher bill, show them the quote and ask why the bill is higher.
- Ask your GP to refer you to a doctor in the public health system.
- Consider switching to a doctor who charges lower fees (if you are a private patient).
- Ask to be treated as a public patient in a public hospital, even if you have private health insurance.
- Talk to your doctor about treatment options. Some newer treatments can be very expensive and may not offer greater benefits than traditional approaches. Ask your doctor if other treatments might be as effective but cost less.
- Find out if you can pay in instalments or have more time to pay your bill. If your health care provider agrees, check if you will be charged interest.
- Ask your doctor if they would consider reducing their fees if you can’t afford treatment.
- Ask your GP if they can give you a long-term referral to your specialist at the end of your treatment. This is known as an “indefinite referral”. It may save you time and money if you require follow-up over several years (standard GP referrals are valid for 12 months and specialist referrals are valid for 3 months). Note, an indefinite referral is not valid for new or unrelated conditions, and it’s important to visit your GP if you have any health concerns and for regular check-ups.
Podcast: Coping with a cancer diagnosis
Prof Sarah Lewis, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, NSW; Kevin Bloom, Senior Social Worker, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Danielle Curnoe, Consumer; Alana Fitzgibbon, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Gastro-Intestinal Cancers, Cancer Services, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; Hall & Wilcox (law firm); Johanna Jordaan, Consumer; Dr Deme Karikios, Medical Oncologist, Nepean Cancer and Wellness Centre, Nepean Hospital, NSW; Melissa Lawrie, Breast Cancer Clinical Nurse, Cancer Services, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, QLD; Jacqueline Lesage, Consumer Reviewer, Cancer Voices NSW; McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Louise Pellerade, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Andrew Potter, Consumer; Siân Slade, PhD Candidate, Nossal Institute for Global Health and Non-Executive Director (health, disability sectors), VIC; Paula Watt, Clinical Psychologist, WOMEN Centre, WA.
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