I have a long explanation below, but if you don’t want to read the long story, here’s the quick way you can help by donating.
The delightful thing about clinics is they’ll take money from anyone as long as the right account number is on the check, and you can do this anonymously. I will update this page monthly as I get my statements to give changed amounts.
Owed to the medical oncology clinic as of 8/22/2010: $6,805. This amount will not go up again until 2011. Send payments to:
Account # 16093
P.O. Box 59028
Renton, WA 98058
Owed to the alternative therapy clinic as of 7/30/2010: $1002.84. This amount will continue to go up by a minimum of $200/month (it’s starting to look more like $500 to $1000 as of the end of July…) until I stop alternative treatments. Send payments to:
Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center
Account #500003029 SCT
900 SW 16th Street, Suite 100
Renton, WA 98057-2631
Here’s the long explanation:
I have good insurance coverage, but even the best has a great deal that it does not cover. For example, my insurance covers 70% of prescription drugs. Chemotherapy drugs are considered prescription drugs and they’re very expensive. Shockingly expensive. For example, one drug I was given twice a month from August 2009 to May 2010* costs $8,900 a dose — that comes out to $160,000 just for that drug. My 30% share of just that drug would have come out to $48,000. Fortunately, my insurance has a $5,000 yearly catastrophic cap.
The cap re-sets itself every calendar year and my therapy has crossed over two years so far, so my out of pocket for just these chemo treatments to date has been $10,000 and that will re-set again in 2011. It likely will take about a month to get to the $5000 catastrophic maximum for 2011 should I decide to take the oral chemotherapy drugs that I’m considering.
In addition, my insurance does not cover alternative therapies like the Naturopath and acupuncture. The Naturopathic supplements and treatments have been particularly helpful in letting me maintain some sort of level of energy, and the acupuncture has helped alleviate a great deal of the pain. You might think the pain comes from the cancer itself, but that’s a minor pain. The real pain is from the chemotherapy. The supplements themselves run me around $250 to $300 a month, put I pay for those as I go.
Remember, too, that I had this same thing happen 5 years ago when I was first diagnosed, and then my insurance didn’t have the yearly cap. We just recenlty paid off those bills because I was able to get an early payout of life insurance, but only because some insurance actuary thinks I have less than 5 years to live (2.8 years to be exact) — just one of those rules of early payouts. Anyway, that’s where that money went; there and to the home repairs. It was a great relief to get rid of those outstanding loans and our house is fairly purring with getting itself fixed (some of those repairs are still in process), so that’s nice. I think I’ll prove the insurance actuary wrong about my life span, but that’s his problem.
So what does this all mean for you? Lots of you have asked how you can help. I know some of you are struggling along financially as we are, and are more in a place where you can help us by praying. That’s the best thing you can do. If you’re in a place where you can help financially, here’s how. We’ve been making regular payments on payment plans to the chemo clinic and the alternative clinic, but there’s still a great deal left to pay and the payment plans will re-set in January 2011. Who knows what they’ll be then?
Many people from work have already donated to me through an account there. To them I send out a great hearty THANK YOU. It’s been very helpful.
* I was on three different chemo drugs — the other two together cost about as much as just this one drug alone. So the total my insurance company paid for the whole mess so far was $320,000 just for the drugs. That doesn’t include all the doctor visits and all the medical equipment such as IV bags, needles, etc. It also doesn’t include radiation therapy or surgery. This is how you get to your $1,000,000 lifetime insurance cap in short order.