I remember when my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis was scary enough and sent a shock wave through our family. But it got worse. As she fought for her life, her health insurance company fought to keep every penny it could keep – regardless of the risk to my aunt's health. Her health insurance denied coverage of her anti-nausea medication during her chemo and radiation treatment. It was insulting and really left her in a financially difficult situation.
My mom was later diagnosed with leukemia. Her health insurance company denied coverage for a bone marrow transplant.
But this problem goes beyond my family. Cancer patients are being denied coverage for treatments daily. Faced with the backlash in the media, the health insurance companies found a way to continue to save money without denying treatment – increasing co-pays. Health insurance companies have started using "specialty tiers" pricing structures which shift the cost of the cancer treatment to the patients and their families. Out-of-pocket fees for crucial medications can add up quickly – some patients are facing a $3,700.00 co-pay PER MONTH for the medications they need to survive.
We must all ask our state Representatives to co-sponsor and/or support the new "Patients' Access to Treatments Act". The Act, if made law, will eliminate these costly specialty tiers which will allow more patients to get the life-saving treatments they need. Cancer patients and their families have enough worry on their minds. They don't need to concern themselves with questions such as "can I afford to get my medications this month?" We all need to work together to stop insurance companies from taking advantage of our ill friends and families. People over Profits.
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