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Battling cancer is hard enough, but when your health insurance plan refuses to pay for a more convenient and less daunting treatment, it’s even worse. Although “chemo parity” laws are pending in several states as well as Congress, there is still a lot to be done.
Many health insurance companies will not cover oral chemotherapy drugs that may cost up to $4,000 per pill, since less expensive IV treatments are available. The latter require more of the patient’s time, transportation, and have more side effects. They are also susceptible to leaks and other problems that cause emergency room visits!
Why does this happen? Oral cancer drugs are often classified as prescription medication benefits, which tend to be far less generous than medical benefits (such as intravenous surgery). For their part, health insurance providers blame Big Pharma for putting such a high price tag on the pills to begin with. Pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, claim that the high prices are necessary to recoup their research and development costs.