Even if you don’t already have serious illness cover on your existing policy, you may be entitled to a free serious illness cover upgrade – being without it could cost you everything, so it is well worth checking the status of your current policy.
A recent Irish Cancer Society report says the cost of treatment can be up to €1,400 a month. Many cancer patients and their families face a financial crisis while going through their treatment, according to the report, which was commissioned by the Irish Cancer Society.
The average extra spend per month among cancer patients surveyed, including those with a medical card or private health insurance, was €862, the report by Millward Brown found. Those who could not work, worked less or lost income as a result of having cancer faced an income drop averaging €1,400 a month, or €16,750 per year.
Working patients faced a severe drop in income while at the same time running up extra bills on home heating, parking, childcare, travel, prescription charges, hospital stays, over-the-counter drugs, consultant visits, dental care, physiotherapy as well as clothing and personal care.
The society, which recently cut its grants to cancer patients facing hardship due to increased demand, said the survey showed everyone diagnosed with cancer was affected financially in some way.
The extra cost of cancer for a patient has been estimated at an average €862 per month extra spend. The average cost per month for patients affected is made up of: €303 – medical expenses, €287 – costs during treatment, €217 – day-to-day living expenses, €274 – one-off purchases*, €389 – Personal care costs*, €212 – additional costs* (* = one off costs)
“Our report shows that many cancer patients are facing financial stress, often real hardship, by having to deal with huge extra costs and a massive drop in income at a time when they are going through the severe physical, emotional and psychological impact of a very serious illness”, said Kathleen O’Meara, head of advocacy and communications.
Three in five patients surveyed had a medical card at the time of diagnosis and more than half had private health insurance, but more than 20 per cent of those who applied for a medical card after their diagnosis were not successful. “But even those with a medical card or private health insurance had to pay out for the many things not covered such as childcare, hospital parking and home heating and in many cases, additional over the counter medicines”, Ms O’Meara said.
The Real Cost of Cancer report says that the financial burden caused by parking is “almost unbearable” for some families. One patient reported that daily visits by his wife while he was being treated in a Dublin hospital for sixteen weeks cost the household over €1,000.
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Contact Marie Davey on 086-1013481 or Gemma Maguire on 085-8275696