Governor Signs Bill to Reduce Barriers for Patients Facing Life-Threatening Illnesses
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Governor Stitt has signed legislation into law that will protect Oklahomans 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 new law will require such payments to be counted toward the patient’s deductible.
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Oklahoma Government Relations Director Matt Glanville said:
“We thank Governor Stitt and our lawmakers for passing and enacting 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.
“Out-of-pocket health-care costs are on the rise, with some Oklahomans 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. Others have had to choose between paying their bills and refilling prescriptions.
“This new law keeps financial assistance programs a viable option for Oklahomans by requiring insurers to count all payments made by patients directly or on their behalf toward their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum, unless a generic drug is available.
“No one should be penalized for utilizing a financial assistance program to afford their care—especially those who are living with cancer. This new law can save lives and save patients from the anxiety of how to pay for their treatments.”
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 www.fightcancer.org.