Access to Health Care

ACS CAN advocates for policies that provide access to treatments and services people with cancer need for their care - including those who may be newly diagnosed, in active treatment and cancer survivors.

Access to Health Care Resources:

ACS CAN encourages policymakers at all levels to continue exploring this issue. ACS CAN supports policies at the national, state and local levels that increase access to job-protected paid family & medical leave that can be used for cancer treatments, survivorship care, and caregiving as well as other illnesses. Read this factsheet to learn more.

ACS CAN responded to the reopening of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) coverage decision for NGS testing panels.

ACS CAN is concerned that over the past year, policymakers and the administration have taken several legislative and regulatory actions that could make it harder for individuals with pre-existing conditions to obtain health insurance coverage that is adequate, affordable, and available, thereby jeopardizing access to life-sustaining care.

ACS CAN submitted comments regarding Alabama's proposed plan year 2020 Essential Health Benefit Benchmark Revisions.

ACS CAN submitted comments regarding New Jersey's request for a 1332 waiver to create a reinsurance program.

ACS CAN submitted comments regarding the CMS Innovation Center's request for information on a new direction.

ACS CAN comments to Steven Mnuchin and Seema Verma on Iowa's 1332 Waiver

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are an integral part of the health care safety-net, providing access to affordable primary care services for nearly 26 million uninsured or underinsured Americans many of whom have cancer. The centers are non-profit, community-directed, and serve high need rural and urban communities that face obstacles to health care, including cost and lack of insurance, as well as geographic and language barriers. FQHCs provide access to quality preventive and primary care services that are critical for cancer patients, survivors, and those who will be diagnosed with cancer.

Prescription Drug Affordability Resources:

Many cancer patients take multiple drugs as part of their treatment – often for many months or years. While drugs are not the only costly part of cancer treatment, finding ways to reduce these costs for patients and payers will significantly reduce the overall cost burden of cancer.

Many cancer patients have difficulty affording the cost of their prescription drugs, regardless of whether they are insured.  This is especially true for newer drugs that do not have a generic equivalent.  Many programs exist to help patients afford their medication.  This fact sheet focuses on two of these – patient assistance programs and discount coupons.  

ACS CAN joined organizations representing cancer patients, survivors, providers, and caregivers urging the administration to address barriers to access to care and coverage during the public health crisis

ACS CAN joined 50 groups representing, cancer patients, survivors, doctors, nurses, cancer centers, pharmacists and researchers urging Congress to address barriers to patient access to care and coverage.

The Medicare Access for Patients Rx (MAPRx) Coalition raises concerns about proposed changes to the Medicare prescription drug benefit and Medicare Advantage plans

ACS CAN supports legislative and regulatory policies at the state and federal level that prohibit patients from being surprise billed for unexpected out-of-network care.

ACS CAN comments to Secretary Alex Azar on Drug Rebate Proposed Rule

Biological drugs, commonly referred to as biologics, are a class of drugs that are produced using a living system, such as a microorganism, plant cell, or animal cell. Like all drugs, biologics are regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For an individual with specific health care needs – like cancer patients and survivors – the drugs covered by a health plan and corresponding cost sharing for each drug is important information when choosing health insurance. However, to make an informed choice, formulary information must be disclosed to the individual.

Private Health Insurance Resources:

ACS CAN Comments on Oregon 1332 Waiver

ACS CAN Comments on Massachusetts 1332 Waiver

ACS CAN Comments on Iowa 1332 Waiver

ACS CAN Comments on Special Enrollment Period Verification Pilot Program

ACS CAN Comments on Short-Term Policies

ACS CAN Recommendations for Updating the NAIC's Managed Care Plan Network Adequacy Model Act.

ACS CAN Comments on Proposed Changes to Special Enrollment Periods

In a letter to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), ACS CAN and other organziations provided specific comments to provide greater consumer protections and improvements to  the NAIC's Health Carrier Prescription Drug Benefit Model Act (Formulary Model Act). 

ACS CAN filed comments on the 2017 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters, including issues related to Medicare notices, standardized plan option designs, and network adequacy.

Medicare Resources:

ACS CAN provided comments on CMS' initiation of a national coverage analysis for cervical cancer screening with a combination of HPV and cytology (Pap) testing.

ACS CAN commented on the Medicare CY2015 Physician Fee Schedule, in which we urged, among other things for CMS to designate screeming colonoscopioes that resule in polyp removal or biopsy as a preventive service.  We also commented on the proposed provisions related to the Chronic Care Management code.

ACS CAN filed comments in response to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation's (CMMI's) request for information on specialty practitioner payment model opportunities.  ACS CAN's comments urged CMMI to pay particular attention to the impact various payment policies would have on a beneficiary's access to care.

In a letter to CMS Administrator Tavenner, ACS CAN joined other organizations urging CMS to reqire Medicare Advantage plans to provide coverage for clinical trials.

ACS CAN filed extensive comments in response to CMS' proposed rule implementing changes to the Medicare Part C and D programs, including opposing proposed changes to the Part D six protected classes.

This analysis examines two issues of particular interest to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and its members: the extent of coverage and cost-sharing for cancer drugs, and whether information on the coverage of cancer drugs can be readily obtained, compared, and understood by patients.

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Reducing Health Disparities Resources:

Although tobacco-related cancer incidence and mortality have declined in the U.S., we continue to see disparities by socioeconomic status (SES), race/ethnicity, educational level, gender, sexual orientation, and geographic location. Our ability to continue to make progress against cancer relies h

In response to a request from FDA, ACS CAN has provided recommendations for areas of focus for the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE).  Recommendations include assessing the applicability of drug "snapshot" data, evaluating the appropriateness of aggregating racial groups for ana

Despite the fact that US cancer death rates have decreased by 26 percent from 1991 to 2015, not all Americans have benefited equally from the advances in prevention, early detection, and treatments that have helped achieve these lower rates.

On November 10, 2015, ACS CAN hosted the first National Summit on Health Equity in St. Louis, Missouri. The summit brought together over 150 innovative thinkers in public policy, business, technology, academia, patient care, community health, and patient advocacy to examine public policy solutions for assuring greater health equity for cancer patients in the evolving health care system.

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Costs and Barriers to Care Resources:

Current federal requirements provide crucial protections that ensure health insurance coverage is comprehensive, not arbitrarily limited, available to all and more affordable.  These protections are especially important for cancer patients, survivors, and those at risk for cancer.  This fact sheet contains a list of the most important provisions in current law for the cancer community.

Resources and information from the American Cancer Society about understanding health insurance, particularly for cancer patients and survivors.

The American Cancer Society operates a call center available to all cancer patients and their families, that includes resources and specialists who can help patients with questions about health insurance, enrolling in a plan, and issues accessing care.

ACS CAN comments on 2015 Edition EHR Standards and Certification Criteria Proposed Rule

Despite the fact that US cancer death rates have decreased by 26 percent from 1991 to 2015, not all Americans have benefited equally from the advances in prevention, early detection, and treatments that have helped achieve these lower rates.

Ensuring access to evidenced-based cancer screenings and quality treatment is critical to the fight against colorectal cancer. 

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Medicaid Resources:

ACS CAN comments on Tennessee's 1115 Demonstration Waiver.

ACS CAN comments on Utah's 1115 Demonstration Waiver.

ACS CAN Comments on Idaho's 1115 Demonstration Waiver.

ACS CAN Comments on Montana's 1115 Demonstration Waiver.

ACS CAN Comments on Utah's 1115 Demonstration Waiver

ACS CAN CMS Comments on New Mexico's 1115 Demonstration Waiver

ACS CAN CMS Comments on South Carolina's 1115 Demonstration Waiver

ACS CAN CMS Comments on Tennessee's 1115 Demonstration Waiver

ACS CAN CMS Comments on Virginia's 1115 Demonstration Waiver