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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.

Private Health Insurance Resources:

In 2015, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) analyzed coverage of cancer drugs in the health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and found that transparency of coverage and cost-sharing requirements were insufficient to allow cancer patients to choose the best plan for their needs.

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.

This report highlights the severe challenges cancer patient may face in paying for life-saving care even when they have private health insurance.

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Medicare Resources:

Cancer patients and survivors must balance reducing their health care costs with ensuring they have comprehensive coverage of services, treatments, and care providers.

On Tuesday, September 6, 2022, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network filed comments on the calendar year (CY) 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule. 

ACS CAN's comments focused on the following:

The incidence of cancer increases with age and thus the Medicare program is vitally important to millions of Americans who are undergoing active cancer treatment, are cancer survivors or who have not yet developed cancer.

ACS CAN Comments to Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

ACS CAN submitted comments on the Medicare Part C and D Rule.

Approximately 1.7 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2018. Age is one of the most important risk factors for cancer, with one half of cancer cases occurring in people over the age of 65.

ACS CAN filed extensive comments expressing deep concern with the proposed Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model and noting that in its proposed form the Part B Drug Model Model failed to protect cancer patients' access to life-saving medications.

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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Costs and Barriers to Care Resources:

High deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) are becoming more common in employer-sponsored insurance and the individual and small group markets.  These types of plans have risks and features must be implemented carefully so they do not harm cancer patients, survivors or those at risk for cancer.

Cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to spikes in their health care costs because many expensive diagnostic tests and treatments are scheduled within a short period of time, so cancer patients spend their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum quickly. These costs can be difficult to manage over the course of a year, and most monthly budgets simply can’t afford these large bills. 

Most patients experience spikes in their health care costs around the time of a cancer diagnosis as they pay their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. For patients on high deductible plans, this spike can mean bills due for several thousands of dollars within one month.

The U.S. spent approximately $183 billion on cancer-related health care in 2015. This represents a signification portion of the total health care spending in the U.S. And it is expected to keep growing. By 2030 cancer-related health care spending is expected to reach nearly $246 billion.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped individuals with pre-existing conditions like cancer access comprehensive health insurance and afford their care. But the law is at risk of being dismantled.

This report explores the experiences of cancer patients with their health insurance and financial challenges through interviews with hospital-based financial navigators. The report finds that while the Affordable Care Act has brought crucial improvements to patient access to health insurance, cancer patients still face serious challenges affording their care and using their insurance benefits.

Current federal requirements prohibit health insurance plans from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions like cancer.  These are one of several important patient protections that must be part of any health care system that works for cancer patients.

Current federal law has several provisions that help prevent individuals and families from experiencing gaps in their health insurance coverage.  Coverage gaps can delay necessary care, which is particularly detrimental to cancer patients and survivors.  Preventing gaps in coverage is a crucial patient protection that must be maintained in our health care and insurance system.

Current federal law provides life-saving coverage of cancer prevention and early detection services and programs.  These provisions are crucial to reducing the incidence and impact of cancer in the United States.  They are also crucial in helping cancer survivors remain cancer-free and lead healthy lives.

Medicaid Resources:

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.

What does unwinding continuous coverage have to do with Medicaid expansion?

  • During the pandemic, Congress put in place continuous coverage protections to ensure that Medicaid enrollees were able to keep their health coverage without needing to re-enroll.