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Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 697
   Posted 3/15/2010 8:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Some great NPR Planet Money stories examining medical insurance and costs in the U.S. I started a new topic to avoid hijacking the IMRT costs thread. But this does bear directly on our treatments for prostate cancer. Your IMRT is supposed to cost X, your insurance company will pay Y, you pay Z and they don't seem connected.

Cancer Debt: The Hidden Costs Beyond Insurance:

The Health Care Economist is In:
You've seen those crazy-looking medical bills, the ones with row after row of prices and treatment codes. How about one that says the service cost $1,200, except your insurer paid $400 and you the patient owe nothing? Where did that other money go?
Doctor bills are complicated enough to make you go looking for a Harvard health care economist. Which is just what we did. Today, professor Joseph Newhouse fields your questions.

I really liked these stories, although they're not directly related to prostate cancer, I think you can see some connections, especially as a lot of prostate cancer patients are choosing medical tourism these days.

Shopping for an MRI:
We know how a market is supposed to work. If two stores sell the same product, and one sells it for cheaper than the other, more customers should flock to the first store and put the second store out of business. But if we're learned anything from studying health care, it's that it doesn't always follow the basic rules of economics. To find out why the market works this way, we visited Pensacola, Florida where two health care facilities down the street from each other charge very different prices for MRIs.

Shopping for an MRI (outside the United States):
This time we travel from New Haven, Conn. to Japan, where an MRI costs only $160. Why? Well, it's because of the government, the quality of the machines and as we'll hear from neurologist Dr. Michiko Kimura Bruno, because Japanese people really love MRIs.

Dx Feb 2006, PSA 9 @age 43
RRP Apr 2006 - Gleason 3+4, T2c, NX MX, pos margins
PSA 5/06 <0.1, 8/06 0.2, 12/06 0.6, 1/07 0.7.
Salvage radiation (IMRT) total dose 70.2 Gy, Jan-Mar 2007@ age 44
PSA 6/07 0.1, 9/07 and thereafter <0.1

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 3172
   Posted 3/15/2010 9:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for posting these, Galileo.
I had heard the first one on Morning Edition a few weeks ago.
I learned some things from the others.
thanks, again.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 489
   Posted 3/16/2010 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   

A lot of the itemized costs i get in my On-line Health History are unfathomable. (Did I really take that?? And That?? And what is That?). Also i have commented before that my surgery's itemized costs are nowhere near what a lot of people mentioned -- possibly because of the clout from my Company and their insurance providers.

Also apparently a lot of nickel and dime items add up (also I suspect a lot of items are checked out of stock as a matter of course, but possibly never used during surgery 'just in case') .. But $cha-ching they have to charge -- probably cannot restock anything that went out... that's OK i can live with that. And of course the anesthesiologist and your surgeon who drop by the next day to see how you are doing -- well $Cha-ching there too (but we love that too).

And also have you seen all those Galileo movies from Japan about the genius mathematician crime solver?? Wonder if that's where you got your nick from. Loved all of those episodes (got em on a torrent ...).
Age 59, 57 at DX, PSA Aug2008 7 4 ... June2007 4.7 (BPH + LUTS)
11/2008 Biopsy: 1 of 12 cores 5%, Gleason 3+3 - Sona showed size 140+ cc (110 grams post op).
02/03/09 open RRP surgery , Nerve sparing both sides, 1 day in hospital, Day 4 first BM,
Pathology Report: All margins clear - No Invasive spread - no change in Gleason score.
02/18/09 Cath out, passed a 1cm oblong STONE within hours.
03/06/09 Started Levitra@20mg / Viagra@100mg / (04/01) Cialis@20mg -- (no effect yet 02/2010).
04/01/09, 07/07/09, 10/01/09, 01/15/10 PSA <0.1
08/09-09/09 MUSE@1000mcg (alpro ache) @500mcg -- less ache.
10/09-11/09 TrimixGel@(500/300/100mcg): 60, 70,80%,
02/10 TrimixGel@1000/300/100mcg - 80-90% - (with cialis) - just @ usefulness.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 697
   Posted 3/16/2010 3:24 PM (GMT -6)   
That 1cm stone sounds like quite the experience! And here I was freaked out by passing a few clots.

I was just casting around for a screen name, and since I like astronomy, picked Galileo. I've also got that Queen song, Bohemian Rhapsody, in my head way too much. You know:

(Galileo.) Galileo. (Galileo.) Galileo, Galileo figaro
Magnifico. I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity

I'll have to look into those movies you mention.

Take care.


Dx Feb 2006, PSA 9 @age 43
RRP Apr 2006 - Gleason 3+4, T2c, NX MX, pos margins
PSA 5/06 <0.1, 8/06 0.2, 12/06 0.6, 1/07 0.7.
Salvage radiation (IMRT) total dose 70.2 Gy, Jan-Mar 2007@ age 44
PSA 6/07 0.1, 9/07 and thereafter <0.1

Tony Crispino
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 8128
   Posted 3/16/2010 5:14 PM (GMT -6)   

Bismillah! We will not let you go...

Prostate Cancer Forum Co-Moderator

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