Phone: 02 6884 2222 | E-mail:

Out of pocket shocks

  • Thursday, March 08, 2018
  • Sandy Dunshea

I know from experience that a diagnosis of cancer can change your and your family’s life in an instant. Cancer is not only emotionally devastating; there are also far-reaching financial implications.

A Cancer Forum Research Paper has indicated that cancer patients may be left with relatively high out-of-pocket costs, especially for those living in rural and remote areas or using the private health system. [1]

Given that more than 123,000 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer each year [2], it’s important to plan what you would do if this happened to you.

The Cancer Forum research paper identified that out-of-pocket costs vary significantly from patient to patient, with some spending up to $17,000 [3] in out-of-pocket treatment costs. The paper also indicates that patients with private health insurance and those living in remote or rural areas pay more out-of-pocket treatment expenses.

It is well worth taking action as, understandably, worries about financial hardship from loss of income and concerns about being able to afford the often unknown out-of-pocket medical costs, can be detrimental to recovery.

Protecting yourself and your family financially from unexpected events, such as a serious illness, does not need to be complex. Our three simple steps can both help you prepare and provide peace of mind:

Step #1: Protect your most important asset
Your ability to earn an income could be your most important asset. If you were unable to earn a living and believe your family would suffer financial stress if you were diagnosed with a serious illness, securing income protection insurance should be a matter of priority.

Income protection insurance usually pays up to 75% of your income in the event of an accident or illness, until you are able to return to work. There are also options where you may be able to cover some superannuation contributions to also assist in protecting your future lifestyle.

Step #2: Boost your protection

If you have income protection insurance in place, you can expect 75% of your income will be paid during your illness. If you wish to boost your protection, you may also consider trauma insurance. A financial adviser can help you understand if this insurance is appropriate for you.

Trauma insurance pays a set amount which can provide additional financial security to help you pay for costs such as out-of-pocket medical expenses, ongoing special treatment or therapy, travel associated with medical treatment or debt repayments.

Step #3: Seek professional advice

A financial adviser can help you create a contingency plan to protect your assets and lifestyle. There are many complexities associated with personal insurances, so it's extremely important to seek professional advice. Further, a financial adviser can assist you to confirm appropriate levels of insurance cover for your circumstances, so that you can reasonably expect your full entitlements to be paid should you ever need to claim. With the appropriate cover in place, you can focus on recovery without the additional stress of worrying about whether or not you can meet your financial commitments.

If the diagnosis of a serious illness could result in financial hardship for your family, seeking professional advice should be a matter of priority.

For more information or to set up an appointment, please contact Sandy Dunshea (02) 6884 2222 or email to discuss a contingency plan to protect you and your family.



Sandy Dunshea is a financial adviser with Fortnum Dubbo. Fortnum Dubbo and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth Ltd ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306. 

The information (including taxation) contained within this document does not consider your personal circumstances and is of a general nature only - unless otherwise stated. Fortnum Dubbo strongly suggests that you should not act on it without first obtaining professional advice specific to your circumstances. 

This publication cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author.

Fortnum Dubbo and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth Ltd ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306 trading as Fortnum Financial Advisers.

The information contained within this website does not consider your personal circumstances and is of a general nature only. You should not act on it without first obtaining professional financial advice specific to your circumstances. This website holds information for Australian Residents only.

Fortnum Financial Advisers logo