The Cost of Curing Brain Cancer

This experience is not for the faint of wallet.   Many hospitals that focus on curing cancer require upfront payments over $100k.   At the Burzynski Clinic they operate on a pay as you go model that makes it easier to get into the program and give it a chance to work so that you know the value of what you are getting.   To start in their system, you pay  $500 for them to review your records.  Once you are accepted, you have to cover the travel costs to get here and the additional costs for lodging.  Granted this is far less than what most folks spend on vacation.  And same as the cost if you are traveling anywhere to have the experts treat your life threatening condition.   No problemo.   Next is the $1000 for the initial consultation – this covers three doctors evaluating your records, your in person condition and determine their initial assessment of a customized approach to treat your cancer.  Then you meet with the financial counselor who charges your card another $13,500 for retainer fee to cover the cost of treatment if you want to proceed (okay who would not want to proceed when the life of your loved one is at stake).   This is still far less than what other hospitals charge you to walk in the door.   You then agree to a $4500 per month management fee of your case for as long as you are their patient (we sure hope Mom gets healed fast).    On their movie that is all over the net they show the results of the tumor before and after – it didn’t look with this patients that there was a lot of long term management required.   But when I was looking at all the kids they have cured of brain cancer, it said by each kids pictures they were still doing their treatment.   This could get to be a very pricey proposition if we have to keep paying them $4500 per month to keep my mom’s brain tumor at bay indefinitely.   They do offer to provide a discount for the monthly fee if you are a self-pay.  They consider people who have medicare and supplemental insurance as a self-pay because they don’t participate in those plans.   I’m opting for their current promotional video reality – that we send my mom’s tumor a packing not to return with no further treatment.   So far their fees seem very reasonable for the level of service we are getting and their unique expertise.

Then there are the medications that they start you on slow.   The benefit here is that most health insurance plans cover the medications.   But you have to submit for the reimbursement yourself.   They do help you out by only prescribing the medications for a couple days at a time to make sure your loved one can tolerate them –  as you cannot return unused medication.   Today, the three pills we have to give my Mom over the weekend that target some replicating feature on the outside of the tumor cells cost $2k.   I’m still not sure how many pills that $2k covers.  Then there are the medical imaging studies.   Which ones are covered by medical insurance is a total crap shoot.  Today we didn’t have to pay for the echo cardiogram but were told we had to pay for the PET Scan.   When we got there, they submitted both to Medicare.   We will have to see.   Granted, if this process cures my Mom, it’s worth every penny we paid.

So far we are still far less than one year of my oldest daughters college education.   And we have a large family with a willingness to help.   But having a better idea of the costs we could be in for would be good to know as it does start to feel like they get you coming and going with their approach.   Sticker shock sets in very fast for folks used to their health insurance picking up the tab on all their medical costs.   It still is more accessible from a cost perspective than many other larger well known conventional cancer treatment centers.

Comments are closed.