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ACS CAN Comments on ACA Regulations Aim to Ensure Affordable and Available Health Coverage for Families Affected by Cancer

December 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 20, 2012 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) today filed comments with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the proposed rules regarding the essential health benefits package and insurance market reforms provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These two separate proposals offer guidance on critical patient protections aimed at guaranteeing the availability of meaningful, affordable coverage, regardless of health history.

ACS CAN’s comments on the essential health benefits (EHB) package proposal work to build on thoughtful guidance to ensure that one of the most important tools in the fight against cancer works for patients, survivors and their loved ones. The comments urge HHS to precisely define the scope and services within each of the 10 benefit categories to guarantee broad understanding of what constitutes an essential benefit; guarantee that drug formularies in benchmark plans reflect the full needs of plan participants, specifically those with chronic diseases like cancer; require plan transparency to empower consumers to effectively engage in health care decisions; consider prevention guidelines beyond those issued by the United States Preventive Services Task Force to better address needs of high-risk patients; and create a long-term process for reviewing and revising the EHB on a national basis, as care for cancer patients should not fundamentally vary depending on where one lives.

ACS CAN’s comments on the insurance market reforms proposal build on a strong rule, asking the HHS secretary to strengthen transparency and enforcement requirements and require that states applying the tobacco surcharge do so in a way that is fair for all consumers. Further, the comments call out the importance of establishing a clear definition of who constitutes a tobacco user to minimize confusion among consumers when they apply for insurance.

For a full copy of the essential health benefits comments, visit:

For a full copy of the insurance market reform comments, visit:

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

Alissa Crispino or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5772 or (202) 661-5711
Email: or

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For media inquiries, please contact:
Alissa Crispino
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