Money matters

This page has information about treatment costs and health insurance issues, financial help that may be available to people affected by cancer, and schemes that help you with the costs of transport and accommodation if you have to travel to have your treatment.

 

Treatment costs                                       

The cost of your treatment will depend on where you are and on other decisions made. Youth Cancer Services and most treatments in public hospitals are covered by the Medicare system.

If you have private health insurance, or if you are a private patient being treated either in a public or private hospital, there may be fees and charges for things such as hospital accommodation, theatre fees and medicines. These costs may vary depending on the level of your private health insurance.

It is really important for you (or your parents, primary carers or partner) to talk to your treating team, the hospital or your health fund to get the most accurate information about any costs.

 

What if I don’t have health insurance?

If you do not have health insurance (or even if you do), you can still be treated in the public health system.

You should be able to get new health insurance even if you have been diagnosed with cancer. Health funds in Australia are not allowed to refuse membership or charge higher prices to people because of their health status or claims history.  They can impose waiting periods for pre-existing illnesses, but once you have served your waiting periods, you are allowed to claim. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by your health fund, you can contact the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman on 1300 362 072 (calls from mobile phones at mobile phone rates) for more information or to make a formal complaint.

 

Financial help

There is financial help available to people affected by cancer –  you just need to know who and what to ask. There’s no shame in applying for assistance – it is there for anyone who needs it. If you have to stop work because of your treatment you may be eligible for assistance from the government (through Centrelink) or other organisations.

Your parents, primary carers or partner may also be able to get some financial assistance if they have to stop work to care for you. You may also be able to get help with things like:

  • rent assistance
  • pharmaceutical allowance
  • concessions cards
  • parking vouchers at the hospital
  • accommodation during treatment for you (if you are being treated as an outpatient), your parents or partner
  • transport costs to and from the hospital.

It can be difficult to work out if you qualify for different types of assistance, and how to fill out the applications. To get more information talk to the YCS social worker or another member of your team or contact one of the services that provide financial or legal help.

 

Access to Early Superannuation

There are limited circumstances when you can access your super savings early. These circumstances are mainly related to specific medical conditions or severe financial hardship.

For more information, visit the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services Website.

 

Access to Income Protection

For more information on how to access income protection, click here.

 

Child care

If you would like to access approved child care while you are receiving treatment, you can contact the Child Care Access Hotline on 1800 670 305 to get details of approved child care services in your area.

You may be able eligible for increased child care hours and/or special child care benefits.

If you already receive the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and need to increase the number of hours, speak with your child care provider to see if you are eligible for extra hours of CCB under the ‘exceptional circumstances’ provision.

If you are having difficulties paying your child care fees, you may also be eligible for up to 13 weeks of Special Child Care Benefit.

For more information, visit the Department of Human Services’ Families website or call 136 150.

In Home Care is a service where an approved carer provides care to your child in your child’s home. This service is not widely available and is usually only an option to families where other forms of child care are not suitable. You can contact your local Family and Community Services Office on 1300 653 227 for more information.

 

Patient transport and accommodation assistance

If you live in a regional or rural area and have to go to a capital or major city to have your treatment, you may be able to get help with the costs of transport and accommodation.

Each Australian state and territory has a subsidy program that provides financial help towards travel and accommodation costs for people affected by cancer who have to travel long distances to access specialist medical services not available locally.

The criteria and amounts vary in each state/territory. Ask your YCS team about what you might be eligible for, or find out more about your state/territory scheme.