Does your state have oral chemo parity?

BY KATHY LATOUR
PUBLISHED: JUNE 20, 2012
It's no surprise to anyone that cancer is expensive. Even for those who have insurance, researchers say there is a good chance cancer will still create a huge financial burden on the family.

Insurance companies take every chance they get not to pay when they should and the latest issue is oral chemotherapy – these are chemotherapy drugs that come in oral form, which makes them easier to take at home or work without distrusting the patient's life by having to go to the hospital for hours for an iv infusion. 10 percent of cancer drugs are oral now with another 25 percent in the pipeline.

And insurance companies have decided that these chemotherapy drugs, because they are a pill, are not chemotherapy and should be reimbursed like a regular prescription drug, meaning the patient has to pay high out of pocket costs.

This makes it twice as hard on the patient financially. Or – as has been shown in study after study – some just don't get the drug prescription filled at all. The latest statistics show 10 percent of patients don't fill their prescription because of cost. These are chemotherapy drugs they aren't filling because they can't afford it. It's the kind of thing that makes you want to scream and picket someone's home.

Well yes, if you live in one of the states that hasn't yet passed parity legislation, which says insurance companies have to treat oral chemotherapy the same way they do iv therapy. And 19 states have done so.

Texas passed the parity lawe in fall 2011. The law says, "A health benefit plan that provides coverage for cancer treatment must provide coverage for a prescribed, orally administered anticancer medication on a basis no less favorable than intravenously administered or injected cancer medications that are covered as medical benefits by the plan."

To see if your state has passed the law, go hereIf your state is not on the list go to visit Patients Equal Access Coalitio (EEAC), an effort being lead by the international Myeloma Foundation.

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