Cost of travel to hospital

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English Alf
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2218
   Posted 3/29/2010 4:43 AM (GMT -6)   
A financial query.

We know that (among other aspects) being treated for Cancer costs money and that others such as insurance companies may pick up some of the tabs, most of the tabs or all of the tabs, but that is for the medical stuff. How about other expenses such as travel costs?

This question arose for me when I realized that for radiation therapy I would be traveling back and forth to the hospital in Amsterdam by train thirty-three times at about 20 Euros a day, which would add up. Then, wow, when I saw the doc last week he said that everyone standard insurance cover would pay their travel expenses for radiation therapy as it is a special case (as are chemo and dialysis.)
I find this weird seeing as they didn’t pay for my travel costs to go to and from the hospital for my operation when the surgeon said I was not allowed to drive myself, whereas for RT I could probably drive myself – I prefer the train option, as then I have a WC; the highway between home and the hospital is one of the busiest in the country and can get gridlocked and is not the place to be with a full bladder.

It works like this: I have to get a formal okay from the insurer beforehand (I just spoke to them on the phone to arrange it), but then, after the RT finishes, I just fill in a form and send them that plus all my train tickets and the list of my RT appointments and they will refund the cost, which looks like being about 660 Euros in total (Though I do have to pay the first 91 Euros myself.)

If I were to go by cab and arrange the cabs via the insurance company then the cab company would send their bills direct to the insurer to be paid. (The cab fares would be about 200 Euros per day making a total of about 6600 Euros).
For cabs that you arrange yourself you have to pay the driver yourself and send off the bills and then they will only refund you 75ct per kilometer rather than the actual fare. As it’s 108km per day that would only cover 80 Euros and leave me to pay the other 120 Euros.

If I were to drive myself they’d give me 25ct per kilometer (108km each day = 27 Euros per day and 890 Euros in total)

If I had the equivalent of the five-star insurance package, then I wouldn’t have to pay the 91 Euros either. And all my travelling expenses up to 1000 Euros per year would be paid for all treatments. And it would also be possible to have a 35 Euro daily allowance to stay somewhere near the hospital.

As my wife put it: it makes up for all the premiums we’ve been paying for all these years.

I was really surprised, and obviously pleased.
Has anyone else encountered anything like this?


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3149
   Posted 3/29/2010 5:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Makes one do the math as you have done. All I can say is I was on ADT (Zoladex at the time) and got my radiation(s), all 34 of them and drove myself from northern suburbs (out a long ways) to was about 45 minute drive each way (mostly 70 mph) and I did not have any problems in so doing, even if tired wasn't that bad. Not like I would fall asleep, at that time I was age 52+ maybe this is another factor. You might be able to handle driving is my point.
Good luck to you, it is not as scary as some people may invision.  Drink your water ahead of time as they tell you.

Youth is wasted on the Young-(W.C. Fields)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2448
   Posted 3/29/2010 6:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I think travel expenses and their reimbursement differ from plan to plan here. My coverage has a travel expenses clause that covers $10,000.00 in lifetime travel expenses.

My trip from Orlando to Detroit had all travel expenses covered as well as $100.00 per day in lodging and food expenses. My trips for radiation covered about 25 miles per day round trip. I could turn in my expenses based upon a standard mileage rate out about $.55 per mile plus tolls and would be reimbursed. I elected not to ask for coverage on these expenses so as to save them for more expensive trips should I need them in the future.

My wife's expenses for the last four years have been reimbursed for about $6000.00 so far. The $10,000.00 lifetime clause applies to each person individually.

60 years old when diagnosed
PSA 11/07 3.0
PSA 5/09 6.4
Diagnosis confirmed July 9, 2009
12 Needle Biopsy = 9 clear , 3 postive
Gleason Score (3+4) 7 in all positive cores
da Vinci 9/17/09
Post Surgery Pathology: GS 4+3=7
Stage: T3a
Tumor Volume 12.5%
positive margin, extra-prostatic extension
30 day PSA 0.4, 50 day psa 0.53, 64 day psa 0.6
IMRT completed 1/15/10 35 treatments- 70Gy

2/24/10 FIRST POST RAD PSA 1.1---CARRRP --waiting for the next test.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1804
   Posted 3/29/2010 7:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Elf, our insurance plan (in the U.S.) did not cover travel costs when John was in hospital. However, they can be tax deductible through the Internal Revenue Service, and we were told to keep careful track of our car mileage for every appointment and when I drove to the hospital to visit John. We tracked every other expense associated with his diagnosis, surgery and recuperation...non-prescription purchases (e.g., pads, stool softeners, tushie cushion, etc.), and, of course, prescription drugs. We handed in our worksheet to our tax accountant who took it from there.
Husband diagnosed in 2/2008 at age 57 with stage T1c. Robotic surgery performed 3/2008. Stage upgraded to T3a (solitary focus of extraprostatic extension). Perineural tumor infiltration present. Apex margin, bladder neck and SVs negative. Final Gleason 3+4. PSA: 0.0 til July 2009. August 2009 - 0.1, September 0.3, October back to 0.0, December 0.0, March 2010 0.0. Next PSA in 6 months. Thank you God!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2243
   Posted 3/29/2010 8:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Not sure if my insurance covers travel expenses are not, but they did not add up to much. I was told that you could apply thru the local American cancer Society for travle expenses related to my radiation. But it was only 25 minutes from home and sometimes I would be going that way for work after tx so felt like someone else could use those funds more than myself.
Dx with PCA 12/08 2 out of 12 cores positive 4.5 psa
59 yo when diagnosed, 61 yo 2010
Robotic surgery 5/09 Atlanta, Ga
Catheter out after 10 days
Gleason upgraded to 3+5, volume less than 10%
2 pads per day, 1 depends but getting better,
 started ED tx 7/17, slow go
Post op dx of neuropathy
T2C left lateral and left posterior margins involved
3 months psa.01, 6 month psa.4, 6 1/2 month psa.5
Starting IMRT on 1/18/10, Completed 39 tx at 72 gys on 3/12/10
Great family and friends

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 3/29/2010 9:00 AM (GMT -6)   

Our insurance doesn't cover any direct travel related expenses, but as Sephie pointed out, here in the US, if you itemize your expenses on your Federal Income Tax Return, you can gert credit for all those trips back and forth (within reason).

What helped us, is something my wife did several years ago that I knew nothing about. She bought the supplemental cancer policy sold by Aflac. She did that through her employer knowing that I didnt "believe" in supplemental policies in general. But she also knew I had had cancer 3 times before. Smart wife, dumb husband.

When I was first dx with the PC, she sprung the news on me. I have been shocked by how much they have paid so far, and its all tax free.

They pay direct to us, doesn't matter to them what you do with the money.

The last day surgery I had on March 2nd, got a check for $650 USD. When I went through my salvage radiation, as horrible as it were for me, it paid $300 USD per treatment. So my 39 days of hell paid us $ 11,700 USD. Least I felt like I got something for it.

Alfs' point is for all of us to read and understand what our insurance will and won't pay for, sometimes there are pleasant surpises there. And see if you have any supplemental cancer policies lying about you had forgoten about.

David in SC
Age: 57, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 7/08 12.3, 9/08 14.5, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 - 7/7 Positive, 40-90% Cancer, Gleason 4+3
Open RP: 11/08, Rht nerves saved, 4 days in hospt, on catheters for 63 days, 5th one out 1/09
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incontinence:  1 Month     ED:  Non issue at any point post surgery, no problem post SRT
Post Surgery  PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12
Latest: 7/9 met 2 rad. oncl, 7/9 cath #6 - blockage, 8/9 2nd corr surgery, 8/9 cath #7 out 38 days, 9/9 - met 3rd rad. oncl., mapped  9/9, 10/1 - 3rd corr. surgery - SP cath/hard dialation, 10/5 - 11/27 IMRT SRT 39 sess/72 gys ,cath #8 33 days, Cath #9 35 days, 12/7 - Cath #10 43 days, 1/19 - Corr Surgery #4,  Caths #11 and #12  same time, 2/8-Cath #11 out - 21 days, 3/2- Cath #12 out - 41 days, 3/2- Corr Surgery #5, Caths #13 & #14 same time, 3/6 Cath #13 out - 4 days

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 315
   Posted 3/29/2010 9:09 AM (GMT -6)   
My Insurance plan covers hotel (part), and airline tickets to one of the recognized cancer centers, not sure about fuel charges, they pay a percentage of tickets and hotel but not all, but when I went to Boston they paid most of it.
diagnosed sept 2006 @ 54 years old, live in Georgia, gleason 3+4=7, (r) lobe only

psa 4.7 (psa rose 1 point per year for 3 years, urologist said still under 4 and no concern. If I can find out about PSA velocity, why didn't he know!)

Told not to have surgery at Dana Farber as cancer had already penetrated prostate, in seminal vesicles, would have positive margins. Would only treat with radiation and HT

RP Emory Atlanta December 2006. Path-negative margin, negative lymph nodes, negative SV, both Lobes involved, 40% gland involved
multifocal perineural invasion, Gleason 3+4=7

1st psa April 2007-<0.04, 6 mos-<0.04, 9 mos <0.04, 1yr <0.04, 21 mos <0.04, 2 yr 0.04 (rising?) 26 mos-0.05, 27 mos-0.04, 29 mos 0.06 Sept 09 ,<0.04 3 year <0.04 39 mo. 0.07 (rising again)

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