Although close to 35% of drugs in the oncology pipeline are oral agents, many health plans cover IV therapies under the medical benefit, resulting in a small co-pay, while placing oral therapies under pharmacy, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs.
New York, NY (PRWEB) June 24, 2011
The New York Assembly voted unanimously 6/22/11 to pass S. 3988/A. 6233, a bill that will eliminate the disparity in insurance coverage between oral and intravenous chemotherapy therapies, ensuring that all cancer patients in the state have access to treatment. S. 3988/A. 6233 will be sent to the governor shortly.
Earlier this month, the IMF Advocacy Team took Kena Miller, RN, MSN, FNP at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and member of the IMF Nurse Leadership Board, to Albany to meet with Senators and members of the Assembly to discuss the oral chemotherapy access bill. She participated in ten meetings to emphasize the importance of the bill and how crucial the passage is to her patients.
The IMF has been working on this issue in New York as part of a coalition headed by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The coalition is made up of other patient advocacy organizations and medical centers including the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and University of Rochester Medical Center.
The oral chemotherapy access issue is one that the IMF has been working on in various states and at the federal level for some time. At the time this alert was written, thirteen states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation and several other states have legislation pending. We’re one step closer to a tremendous victory for the myeloma community and all cancer patients in New York.
Today, close to 35% of the products in the oncology pipeline are oral agents and many health plans have not kept up with these advances, which causes inequity and access issues for patients. Many health plans cover IV/infused therapies under the medical benefit resulting in a small office co-pay while placing oral therapies under the pharmacy benefit, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs.
S. 3988/A. 6233 will ensure that health plans already providing insurance coverage for chemotherapy provide equal coverage for both IV/injected and oral therapies.
Please help the IMF help multiple myeloma patients, as well as cancer patients everywhere, by joining our Action Network and becoming part of the solution.
Once a rare disease of the elderly, multiple myeloma represents 1% of all cancers but is the second most common form of blood cancer, and it is being diagnosed in growing numbers and in increasingly younger people. Myeloma affects an estimated 750,000 people worldwide, and each year approximately 20,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States alone.
About the International Myeloma Foundation
Founded in 1990, the IMF is the oldest and largest myeloma organization in the world, reaching more than 195,000 members in 113 countries. Focusing on four key areas—research, education, support and advocacy, the IMF’s mission is to improve the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure. The research arm of the IMF, the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), comprised of 145 leading collaborative researchers, continues to lead the way in myeloma treatment and research. The IMF can be reached at (800) 453-CURE. The global website is myeloma.org.