it costs how much?

I’ve known I’ve needed this surgery for some time, and I know the longer I leave it the bigger the problem but alas as someone who is their own boss no working means no money and although I’ve paid over 150k in taxes over the 4years of being in Australia, sat on countless charitable organizations and generally been a good citizen – as a Kiwi I am not entitled to get any support.
The first surgeon in Sydney who had the personality of a slimy barnacle, and gave me an ultrasound in his clinic i didn’t really need but it was a great way to get me to pay him $450, he said it would end up costing me about $7,000 out of pocket after medicare and private health insurance.
Then I moved to Melbourne (which I love) and had to go through the riggmaroll of finding a new gynae. I asked my GP to recommend someone after telling her my history and she then gave me the appropriate referral letter. As with many specialists I couldn’t’ actual see her for 3 months, at which point I saw her for 5minutes and she told me to get a scan – which again I had to wait 4 weeks to get, then wait another 2 months to go back and see her. To which point she informed me – oh yeah i don’t do endometriosis… what the F!! thanks for wasting 6months of my life and I ended up over $500 out of pocket for your crappy nonadvice.
Imagine if the same thing happened if I took my car to a garage they did all sorts of tests and things then 6months later said oops sorry we dont’ do VW’s.
Anyway i then found somebody else, but after a reading a lot of blogs and comments online from other women decided he wasn’t really a good option and I ended up 18months later with my current Gynae an amazing man called Martin Healey – a rare breed of surgeon who knows his stuff, makes you feel safe, is honest and can have a bit of a joke and make you feel human.

So finally I found the surgeon/s (I need two for this one, I know demanding aren’t I !)
Now came the rather stressful bit of figuring out the payment system… dear lord give me strength…
In the Uk I had private health insurance I gave my card to the surgeon and all was sorted, I just turned up to hospital signed a form and all was sorted behind the scenes – very reassuring when you’re a bit stressed about the surgery in the first place.
Not in Australia folks, even with private health insurance you better be prepared to have a big fat limit on your credit card, or start saving. Why didn’t I go on public you ask? well because I wouldn’t have the same surgeons and I wouldn’t have the choice about when it was done – I could be booked in then a bigger case comes in or get called up and be bumped up or down the list – pretty difficult if I”m in the middle of a major client project.
I asked what I thought was a simple question – how much will this surgery cost me out of pocket?
ummm not sure.
excuse me? you perform this surgery all the time right?
well yes, we do it a fair bit
so surely you know how much it costs?
well it all depends…

and so began the still unresolved drama of how much this surgery is going to cost me.

As they dont’ know how bad it will be till they open me up, they didn’t give me item numbers so i had nothing to be able to tell the insurance company who then said we might not be able to insure you at all (ARGHHH cue heart palpitations from my end seeing myself presented with a bill for $25,000, and having drips ripped out of me when they realized there is no way I can pay that.)
So i was given the name of the anesthetist, the pathology lab and the hospital to call all of them and try and figure out how much it was going to cost.
I still dont’ know.
Yes thats right I spent about 5hours calling and explaining to various people what was going on and I still have no idea how much the invoice or should I say series of invoices will add up to after my surgery – does that freak me out – you betcha.
It is a well known fact that stress causes complications to surgery – perhaps there is a cost benefit analysis of reviewing how improving this system will reduce patient stress and reduce hospital stays from complications? just saying…
Surely there’s a better way?


About rdesain

I am a passionate advocate for ehealth, I believe we are at an exciting point in time that technology can revolutionize the delivery of healthcare. I am also a patient, with a chronic disease and this is my journey of major surgery - I hope to highlight where possible , opportunities for eHealth.
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