Clinical Trial Coverage

Lifesaving Action Taken on Clinical Trial Rules

Washington Insurance Commissioner Enacts Prescription Rules Which Include Clinical Trials


OLYMPIA, WA – November 8, 2012 – Cancer patients are rejoicing over the recent action taken by the Washington State Insurance Commissioner to implement new rules for insurance coverage of patients enrolling in clinical trials.


Beginning Nov. 8, 2012, patients will no longer be denied routine standard costs of care coverage if they enroll in a clinical trial; thus, eliminating a crucial barrier that more often ended in coverage denials and impeded progress on promising research.


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has been a leading proponent of this rule-making action as it ensures that potentially life-saving treatments for cancer patients and survivors will be fully covered by their insurance.


“Participation in clinical trials can be a life-saving step for people diagnosed with cancer,” said Aaron Czyzewski, vice president of government relations for ACS CAN.  “Knowing their insurance companies will now cover routine care costs provides an additional measure of hope and options for patients, caregivers and the medical community.”


The change in coverage rules was widely supported by Seattle’s research community, one of the key drivers of the area’s local economy. Seattle is the fifth largest biotech center in the country and 17,500 of its citizens are employed in the industry. One in five jobs in Seattle are tied to the healthcare sector overall.


“Research treatments are very often the best options for patients. However, patients, even with the support of their families, face significant challenges as they try to gain access to these lifesaving treatments” said Marc Stewart, medical director of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “The human physical and psychological costs are devastating to the patient and family members. Great expenditures of resources and time are made due to the variations in each patient’s individual insurance policy and the administrative complexity.”

“The more patients who participate in clinical trials, the more advances institutions like the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington make to help present and future patients live longer and better lives” continued Stewart.


In 2012, more than 1.6 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 577,000 people will die from the disease. In Washington this year, 35,790 people will be diagnosed with cancer and another 12,140 will die of the disease.




ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

About Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) unites doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children’s in one world-class treatment center. SCCA was incorporated in 1998 as a separate, jointly governed non-profit that includes the cancer programs of the three partners. Each partner has equal ownership of SCCA. Dr. Fred Appelbaum is the Executive Director of SCCA. SCCA's purpose is to provide state-of-the-art, patient and family centered care; support the conduct of cancer clinical research and education; enhance access to improved cancer interventions; and advance the standard of cancer care regionally and beyond.


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