Sarah Nix pictured on her wedding day. Picture: Supplied/Insight
Sarah Nix pictured on her wedding day. Picture: Supplied/Insight

'In hospitals over 60 times this year in crippling pain'

Being 26 years old and $30,000 plus in debt due to out of pocket medical bills is a daunting reality for me.

I have had private health insurance since I was little and once I got married I upgraded to Top Hospital and Top Extras cover thinking I would be covered for anything that may happen. Little did I know how much it would cost me out of pocket.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis, a disease that is slowly ruining my life both financially and mentally. I have been in hospitals over 60 times this year in crippling pain - pain that is worse than when my appendix burst.

Each time I get hit with hundreds of dollars worth of bills making me question why I have private health insurance and what having private health insurance actually means.

I have had five surgeries in the past two years for my condition. The out-of-pocket charges ranged from $2000-$5000 for each surgery and that does not include the cost for scans and blood tests.

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So many people tell me that I should just go through the public health care system, but for someone with my condition, the public health care system is not an option - it's a joke.

I have been in public hospitals crippled in pain and have had to wait hours to get any sort of help. The waiting lists to see a specialist and to receive surgery are over 12 months. This is just not viable for me.

 

Private health care seemed the only option I had if I wanted to have a quality life and get the care I need.

It's so frustrating that I spend $5100 a year on private health insurance thinking I'm covered for anything private health related when in reality I'm just covering my bed stay. I would pay $10,000 a year in insurance if it meant I had no out-of-pocket costs to pay.

I'm 26, have no super, no investments, nothing to fall back on and help me. I am faced with losing my home, a home that my husband and I put so much effort into saving for. I can't remember the last time I went out for dinner or to the movies or had a holiday. The exorbitant out-of-pocket fees are costing me a normal life.

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I now have to rely on my parents to pay for my medical costs as I simply cannot afford them due to not being able to work anymore and my husband is a low income earner. I am dwindling away my parents' hard earned money, money that they should be enjoying not spending on my medical bills.

I have become so desperate to pay my bills that I had to set up a Go Fund Me page which unfortunately has hit a snag; people would rather donate to football players' law suits than people like me, who actually need it.

 

Sarah Nix has been financially crippled by her endometriosis. Picture: Supplied/Insight
Sarah Nix has been financially crippled by her endometriosis. Picture: Supplied/Insight

 

My husband and I have always wanted kids. But the financial impact has been so devastating that we have decided that I should have a hysterectomy.

It's a hard decision as a young woman, and maybe I'm not making the best choice, but it's impossible for us to continue like this financially.

The government needs to act and do something about the massive out-of-pocket costs faced by people with private health insurance.

It's unacceptable to be so far out of pocket just to simply have some quality of life. Using public health as an answer to those who cannot afford private health is not right and it's why the waiting times for public health care are blowing out of proportion.

Something needs to happen and it needs to happen now.

Sarah Nix is a guest on Insight's episode Out of Pocket on September 24 at 8.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand.