Posts Tagged - ‘oral cancer drugs’

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Connecticut Health Insurance Reform Continues

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Image: State Symbols USA

It may not receive the publicity of other early reform adopters like Massachusetts, but Connecticut health insurance companies–as well as the government–have been ahead of the nation in enacting strategies to increase access while cutting costs.

Recently, they created the Connecticut Clearinghouse as an online health insurance market that allows consumers to better compare their options. The state also enacted healthcare reform (similar to the federal bill) that forces insurers to offer more transparency to consumers when buying. Small businesses are also now allowed to buy prescription drugs for their employees through the discounted plan for public employees.

In addition, Connecticut now requires coverage parity for cancer medications: oral medications will be covered as fully as those administered through IVs. The former are more convenient, but often more expensive. If coverage is denied, patients have access to health care advocates to help them through the appeals process.

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Some Health Insurers Don’t Cover Oral Cancer Drugs

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Image: CarbonNYC under CC 3.0

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.

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