Bioethics Blogs

Watch Out for Those Deductibles!

Photo Credit: Cancer Today Magazine

Lots of folks in the U.S. are finding themselves with health insurance coverage that requires them to pay lots of money, in their deductible, before insurance kicks in. Here is a nice piece in Cancer Today Magazine on the topic:

Tammy Pope had already exceeded her health insurance plan’s $5,000 deductible for 2015 by August. She was still facing a double mastectomy for stage III breast cancer when she got into a debate with her oncologist over whether she could skip a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test of her brain. The doctor had recommended the MRI because Pope had been falling down, episodes she blamed on her cancer medications.

But the doctor insisted on the scan, saying the malignancy had already proved unexpectedly aggressive, with 23 positive lymph nodes removed during Pope’s lumpectomy. “She said, ‘We don’t know for sure if it has spread, and it does love going to the brain,’ ” as Pope recalls the conversation. “Of course,” Pope adds, “when they put it like that, you’re going to do it.”

Pope, a retail worker in Louisville, Kentucky, was already fielding bills she couldn’t pay for tests that had led to her triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis, as well as the chemotherapy that treated her cancer but left her with severe neuropathy in her hands and feet. And while the MRI showed no signs of brain metastasis, the bills kept multiplying: slightly more than $600 for her portion of the MRI’s cost, roughly $6,500 for various tests that led to her diagnosis, and at least $20,000 for her share of the cost of chemotherapy.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.