by Christopher J. Longo, PhD., Associate Professor, Health Policy and Management, & Director, Health Services Management (MBA), DeGroote School of Business, Member, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, Associate Professor (status only), Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
A cancer diagnosis is a scary thing, but the good news is most young adult cancers are treatable and a very high percentage will survive the cancer and thrive. As Canadians the typical assumption is that all treatment related costs for cancers are covered, but the unfortunate news is that this is not always the case. The Canada Health Act ensures that doctor and hospital charges are paid by the province, but other forms of health care are not always fully covered. This means that depending on the type of treatment you get there may be some expenses that you will have to absorb. This might include expensive cancer drugs, or some drugs to treat side effects related to treatment, some home related care and certain diagnostic tests may also not be covered. In these cases the patient will have to cover these costs out of their own pocket. Also keep in mind many of the provincially sponsored health care services are for those under 18 or over 65, hence most young adults will not be covered under these programs. If you are employed, a high percentage of employers have health insurance plans that cover many of the items described above, but this is not true for all employers, and the coverage varies considerably as do the co-payments (the percentage of the cost that the patient is expected to pay).