Cancer patients and survivors are finding it increasingly challenging to get necessary health care as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Many are experiencing financial stress and mental health issues as they try to navigate the difficult health and economic environment.
Cancer Groups Urge Action to Help Patients Access Health Coverage During Pandemic
Special Enrollment Period, Subsidies for Continuing Coverage and Other Changes to Improve Access Are Needed
Washington, D.C.—More than 50 cancer groups are calling on Congress and the administration to take action to help cancer patients gain, maintain and afford health coverage during the ongoing pandemic.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, along with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Association of American Cancer Institutes, the Cancer Support Community, Friends of Cancer Research, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, led the effort to send letters to Congressional leadership and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar detailing several measures each could take to alleviate challenges for patients. Some of the changes include, ensuring patients have access to a 90 day supply of medications, requiring insurance plans to cover oral chemotherapy the same as intravenous treatments, creating a special enrollment period so uninsured or underinsured Americans can enroll in comprehensive health plans established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), increased funding for state Medicaid programs and subsidies to help people who lose their employer-sponsored health care afford their health insurance premiums for up to six months.
Other suggested changes involve ensuring health plans don’t needlessly punish patients for having to seek out-of-network care should their regular providers be closed or unavailable due to the pandemic and promoting the use of telehealth.
The full text of the letters and be read here: