A recent article in the Medical Journal of Australia found that many patients don’t have a full understanding of the costs involved in the surgery procedure they are booked for, nor are they aware of cheaper options that might be available.
With the cost of health care increasing this can create a financial burden on many patients, especially those who opt for private treatment.
To ensure you make the right choice when it comes to your health treatment, Sanchia Aranda suggests you should ask a series of questions to your doctor prior to any surgery.
The CEO of Cancer Council Australia told The Huffington Post Australia that patients often feel powerless to ask lots of questions.
“There’s no such thing as a stupid question and it’s important to understand the broader context beyond the initial event, often surgery,” Aranda says.
Questions your should ask
What alternatives are there for the treatment being suggested? What are the pros and cons of each?
Not only are you considering the cost of the treatment, but you also want to know that what is being suggested fits in with your lifestyle. When you ask for the pros and cons you need to get information on the price, how effective a treatment is, how long the surgery could last and the time it will take to recover, as well as how far you will need to travel for the treatment.
Will there be multiple perspectives?
Aranda says any treatment should be considered from multiple perspectives because it considers all treatment alternatives and therefore offers you the best advice.
“For example we know that when someone with prostate cancer asks their surgeon for a second opinion, they will often be referred to another surgeon even though an alternative is actually radiotherapy,” Aranda told The Huffington Post Australia.
What recovery can I expect?
You need to know not just about the surgery, but also what is involved in getting you back to full health. Knowing that the surgery will have you out of action for a couple of weeks is one thing, but you also need to know if there will be any additional treatments down the line, such as follow up appointments, X-rays and scans and even ongoing medication.
Having the knowledge will provide you with the opportunity to plan appropriately.
Is this treatment available in a private/public system?
Waiting times for some surgeries in the public system can be quite short in Australia, but getting your diagnosis could take six months or more. You might have paid for a fast diagnosis through a private system and then feel cornered to continue your treatment in that manner.
What you need to know is how much of the treatment will carry an out-of-pocket expense and then how that compares in both a public and private health care system.
Can I let you know my decision?
There might be some occasions where you don’t need to make a decision right on the spot. If your doctor is agreeable, take the time to consider your options and reschedule a meeting with your him/her to confirm things once you’ve made a firm decision.