American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Applauds NY Senate Passage of Bill to Reduce Barriers for Patients Facing Life-Threatening Illnesses

May 12, 2021

ALBANY, NY –  The New York State Senate has passed legislation (S5299/A1741) that will protect New Yorkers who are being treated for cancer, and other diseases, from a practice that has made such treatments unaffordable for many.

To help pay for their prescriptions, some patients rely on financial assistance programs offered by drug companies or other third parties. But insurers don’t always count those assistance programs toward a patient’s deductible or out-of-pocket maximum, leaving patients with unaffordable costs once their assistance program is exhausted. The legislation, S5299 sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera, will ensure financial assistance is counted toward the patient’s deductible.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Senior New York Government Relations Director Julie Hart said:

“We thank the Senate, bill sponsor Gustavo Rivera and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for passing this crucial measure.

“A cancer diagnosis doesn’t just come with emotional turmoil. It also leaves patients with a long list of concerns, including whether they’ll be able to afford the treatment ahead.

“Cancer patients shouldn’t have to choose between paying their bills and taking their medication.

“Out-of-pocket health-care costs are on the rise, with some New Yorkers unable to access the life-saving treatments and medications recommended by their providers. Far too many individuals have been forced to drain their savings to pay for chemotherapy and radiation.

“This legislation keeps financial assistance programs a viable option for New Yorkers by requiring insurers to count all payments made by patients directly or on their behalf toward their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.

“No one should be penalized for utilizing a financial assistance program to afford their care—especially those who are living with cancer. This legislation can save lives and save patients from the anxiety of how to pay for their treatments. We ask the New York State Assembly to pass this legislation as soon as possible.”




About ACS CAN at 20 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting


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