HEALTH CARE UPDATES
The American Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association jointly filed an amicus brief in federal appellate court today in support of provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are critical for people with life-threatening chronic diseases. The amicus brief was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which is hearing the appeal of a district court decision that the law’s “individual mandate” requirement is constitutional.
The following is an excerpt from the statement released by the four organizations:
“Our organizations believe that critical patient protections in the Affordable Care Act, including those that end discrimination in the insurance market against people with chronic diseases, would not be sustainable without the individual responsibility requirement. These provisions significantly improve the health care system for chronic disease patients and their families by expanding access to quality, affordable health care; reducing the cost burden on families; and refocusing the system to emphasize prevention.”
If you’re interested in more information, read the full statement.
At a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday, Stephen Finan, senior director of policy for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and Eugene Melville, a California resident and ACS CAN volunteer, testified about the inadequacy of limited-benefit insurance plans, otherwise known as “mini-med” plans, for cancer patients.
As part of an expert panel, Finan testified that while the Affordable Care Act has made major strides in educating and empowering the consumer, there are still plans available on the market that leave people fighting a chronic disease like cancer extremely vulnerable and unaware that the insurance product they purchased is woefully inadequate.
Melville, who called the American Cancer Society’s Health Insurance Assistance Service (HIAS) at the National Cancer Information Center (NCIC) in Austin, Texas for help when he discovered his limited-benefit plan would not cover his treatment for an oral cancer diagnosis, also testified. His testimony focused on the financial burden and barriers to access he has faced as a result of his bare bones health plan.
The hearing was televised live on C-SPAN. An archived video of the hearing can be found on their website.
View the press release for more information and a link to Finan’s full testimony.
The American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) have produced a new, consumer-friendly guide that describes how provisions of the Affordable Care Act help people with cancer and their families.
Featuring the stories of three people who have battled cancer or lost a loved one to the disease, the guide describes how provisions of the law improve the quality of care and make health care more affordable, available and easier for patients to understand.
The guide is part of ongoing efforts to educate the public about the law and its benefits for cancer patients, survivors and their families. The law, while not perfect, will meaningfully improve the health care system for people with cancer and save lives.
Strong protections for cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones take affect today, six months after the signing of the Affordable Care Act into law. These critical provisions are helping to transform our current ‘sick care’ system into one that focuses on people getting and staying well. Here are the changes you will see:
- No lifetime dollar caps on coverage
- Tightly restricted annual dollar limits on coverage
- In all new plans, preventive coverage is guaranteed and individuals will see no out-of-pocket costs for proven preventive services such as screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer
- Health plans can no longer drop patients from coverage when they get sick
- Dependent children can remain on their parent’s insurance policy until age 26
- Children up to age 19 with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, cannot be denied coverage
We’re working hard at ACS CAN to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is implemented as strongly as possible for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. For more information, please read “How the Affordable Care Act is Helping People with Cancer”
How will your family benefit from these patient protections?
The media is buzzing today with stories about the six-month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and how consumers, insurers and lawmakers are reacting. But, as key provisions that will directly benefit cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones start to take effect today, the best evidence of the effects of this law are through the direct accounts of those who are already seeing barriers to care torn down.. Read the story of the Brainards, a husband and wife from Palestine, West Virginia, who thought a looming limit on their lifetime benefit coverage would prohibit husband Carl from getting the care he needed for his cancer diagnosis. In their own words, they describe their relief to find out the Affordable Care Act won’t make them choose between Carl’s life and their lifesavings.