Terre Maize Nicholson was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2013 and was offered limited treatment options. Around the same time that she was diagnosed, the company she worked at was considering subsidising health insurance for employees.
Although Nicholson had insurance, her insurance did not provide the necessary cover. She was offered only limited access to medicines on the Pharmac approved schedule. Her effort to beat cancer placed her under a great deal of financial strain. Nicholson used a significant amount of her KiwiSaver savings, set up a Givealittle page and considered selling valuable jewellery.
The number of breast cancer patients relying on private healthcare is increasing. With an increasing number of New Zealand women being diagnosed with breast cancer, it is possible that consultants are encouraging patients to access private healthcare. Although a better system than the public system, it is paramount that people first understand what they are and are not entitled to before taking out insurance says Stephanie Wiki, an adviser and a breast cancer survivor.
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