Almost a month ago, my grandmother was one of an estimated total of 1,658,370 people in the United States who will hear "You have cancer" in 2015 (http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-044552.pdf). In the same week as she was diagnosed with Melanoma, my father was told he tested positive for a rare stomach cancer gene that will drastically change his lifestyle when he goes through preventative measures of treatment. Cancer has been never been a stranger to me or my family, but we are not alone. Despite the advancements that have been made in the cancer field, the challenges that face the patients and caretakers through their battle are typically monstrous, no matter what stage. As a caretaker myself, I bear witness to the weight of the many strains, and know that sometimes the biggest burdens are not the physical, but rather the financial worries that come with a diagnosis.
Without help from insurance companies, patients and their caretakers can spend tens of thousands of dollars on treatment, during a time when they may not be able to work due to the side effects from chemotherapy and radiation. Insurance companies today often cover the costs of traditional forms of chemotherapy, but have not kept up with innovations in treatments, such as patient-administered anticancer drugs. Patient-administered anticancer drugs include oral chemotherapy pills, as well as self injectable medicine. Tamoxifen, an oral chemotherapy pill, was considered when my mother had pre-breast cancer removed in 2009. This form of treatment allows for patients to receive treatment in their homes, rather than having to travel to receive treatment in a hospital, but has become more expensive because of the lack of change in insurance policies. While insurance companies cover a small portion of the cost for patient-administered anticancer drugs, the co-pay for filling the prescription is often astronomical, leaving patient-administered anticancer medicine an impossible form of treatment for many patients.
I am very happy to applaud National Research's client and our good friend, Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7th District), as well as Congressman Higgins (D-NY-26th District), and Senators Kirk (R-IL) and Franken (D-MN) on introducing the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act of 2015 last week. This bill would require insurance companies to cover patient-administered anticancer drugs at the same cost as physician-administered anticancer drugs. Such a bill will help to ease the financial burden of cancer, that weighs on patients and caretakers, and allows them to continue their treatment, rather than sacrificing their health because they cannot afford it.
For a press release regarding the introduced bill, please go to http://t.co/v4eG9h73T4
To read more about Kaylyn O'Connor, go here.