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Expat Investor : January February 2009
HEALTHCARE Little pain relief from soaring costs of cancer care Medicare International has uncovered exactly what it costs for an average cancer patient in Western Europe.With the proliferation of new expensive cancer treatments on the market, coupled with government’s being unable to fund the specific needs of each patient on a case-by-case basis, costs are becoming prohibitive without the correct insurance. Take breast cancer, for example. Western society has the highest rate of the disease, where, according to the World Health Organisation, one in 16 women in Western Europe will be affected by breast cancer. In the UK, nearly 46,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and more than 1,000 women die of the disease each month. With such a huge rise in the number of women who are now treated for this disease, comes a huge rise in costs. Thankfully, the sophisticated drugs now available are helping more and more women to beat breast cancer. Figures William Russell enhances member website William Russell has relaunched its website with a series of dedicated web pages for its policyholders to enable them to access information about their international private medical insurance and protection plans. The new pages are designed to complement William Russell’s interactive online quotation and application system for individual clients and their families. James Cooper, Sales Director, says, “Providing our expatriate members with the highest standards of personal service and, even more importantly, providing them with a seamless service when they need to make a claim is at the centre of our family-focused ethos.We had personal service very much in mind when we redesigned our website, providing additional information and content for our members to complement our existing telephone- based and online application service.” www.william- russell.com produced by Cancer Research in the UK suggest survival rates for breast cancer have been improving for more than 20 years. The estimated five-year survival rate for women diagnosed in England and Wales in 2001–2003 was 80%, compared with only 52% for women diagnosed in 1971–1975. Some drugs or combinations are more suited than others and finding the right balance can be an expensive business which may not necessarily provide a cure, but it can make life more comfortable. For national healthcare organisations and individuals to absorb these costs has become very difficult. By way of example, typically, in the UK, an initial consultation costs on average £180, with a mammogram at around £100. Additional diagnosis in relation to breast cancer care, including blood count and liver function, totals just under £400. Should surgery be needed, the costs begin to increase significantly. A lumpectomy costs approximately £2,500, rising to £6,000 for a full mastectomy. On top of this, the patient needs nursing and accommodation, which costs around £500 per day.Without taking into consideration the costs of drugs used to relieve the symptoms of breast cancer post-op, either chemotherapy or radiotherapy will be needed as part of the treatment. The costs are considerable, with an average of six chemotherapy sessions needed at a cost of up to £4,000 per session. Radiotherapy costs on average £900 per session. Commenting on these figures, David Pryor, Senior Executive Director, MediCare International, says, “Healthcare costs relating to cancer diagnosis and treatment are becoming prohibitively expensive, and drugs are often being denied to patients being treated by their national healthcare scheme because they are simply unable to afford the costs.We see this in the UK, but also in many countries around the world which are popular expatriate destinations, whether for work or retirement.With all the costs involved in treating cancer, it is vital that individuals get the protection they need. Breast cancer is, thankfully, an example of a potentially fatal disease which is being treated successfully now in most cases, due to early detection. However, it is still prevalent and on the increase throughout the world, and more particularly in the West. It pays to protect yourself, so patients can focus on getting better rather than worrying about what may be being denied to them.” Because nothing in the world matters more than each other AXA PPP healthcare brings you great British health cover. Wherever you live in the world Your health is everything. So it pays to take the best possible care of it. Whether you’re a resident expatriate or a local national – working, travelling or retired – our International Health Plans bring priceless peace of mind. We’ll give you prompt access to private medical treatment, a choice of hospitals, emergency evacuation or repatriation, and many more benefits. We even have an English-speaking health information line – on call for you, 24/7. With over 35 years’ of international experience, and over 2 million customers in the UK and worldwide, you can trust AXA PPP healthcare to protect the health of those you care for. Join now – and get up to two months cover, completely free. all +44(0)1892 550814 quoting reference EI5555 or visit www.axappphealthcare.co.uk/expat_investor All claims will be assessed against the terms and conditions of the chosen product and any individual exclusions placed on your policy at joining. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. © AXA PPP healthcare 2008 Lines are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday (UK time). Calls may be recorded. Fast Facts 22007 January/February 2009 ? EXPAT INVESTOR 15
March April 2009