Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and with over 4,000 people diagnosed with melanoma in New Zealand each year, we have one of the world’s highest rates. Sun exposure is the number one cause of melanoma, with genetics also playing a part. Melanoma is the uncontrolled growth of melanocytes, which are the cells which produce the pigment which colours our hair, skin and eyes. If caught early enough, it is treatable, but once it has spread, the prognosis is not so great.
It’s all about Pharmac when it comes to melanoma treatment. Pharmac either fund it or they don’t. If they do and if it is the right treatment for you, then you get it. If they don’t, even though your doctor recommends it, you get a big fat no. A no is not something you want to hear when you’re battling a diagnosis of melanoma, regardless which stage it is at. So, how do you turn that no into a yes and get the right treatment for you?
Do You Need to Fight for Your Melanoma Treatment?
So you have existing medical insurance cover but you are concerned about unfunded and non-Pharmac subsidised medicines, especially for cancer.
You are concerned because your present cover is either limited or non-existent for this area of your medical treatment.
If you are fit and healthy then this is not quite the issue it could be and moving to a plan that does cover this is relatively straight forward.
But that’s not the reason you are reading this either.
Medical Insurance Treatment Myths and Realities
My share of my blog post on Movember got a really good reply with some well thought out points that I come across with clients every day. Some are well founded and understood, others things have changed as has the approach. I felt it was worth a blog post by itself.
Susan’s original post:
Good on you Jon-Paul, admirable cause, but it is my view that Health insurance company don't do Health prevention, you have to pay for this type of health service even if you have a mastectomy your health insurance won't pay for a re-build for want a better word, apparently its plastic surgery and its not covered to have you looking normal after going through harrowing surgery and treatment...
Breast cancer, or for that matter any form of cancer, with women gets a reaction in the media. Breast cancer has certainly been the one that has had the majority of attention over the years.
2003 there were large headlines about the access to herceptin and it's costs, especially as the Aussies had access to it from an early stage. Here in NZ the budget of the time just didn't have the capacity to handle the cost. On the insurance side, there were only two medical insurers at the time able to offer cover, one that stopped not long after herceptin hit the market leaving 1 insurer providing non pharmac cover for new policies for nearly 10 years.
Now that we've got over most of the funding discussion on herceptin, it's partially funded rather than fully funded, other areas around cancer treatment are getting attention.
This is an area of health care often mis-understood until you are in the thick of your treatment and you find out things may not be as you expected.
Pharmac is the governments answer to managing health care costs and getting the best deal for New Zealanders health care dollar. The challenge is that health care dollar, which is funded from your taxes, only goes so far.