Michigan requests equal coverage for all types of chemotherapy. According to the latest statistics, pills appear to be more expensive than the IV drugs. Thus, the insurance company will not cover all their cost, and patients will have to pay for the difference from their own pocket.
For example, a patient with ovarian cancer paid as much as $3,100 for every two weeks. The type of pill prescribed by her doctor was not included in the deductible list, and she was relieved when the medicine did not prove to be a match for her. The patient has suffered from cancer for nearly seven years.
The Senate voted for a new bill which is intended to make insurance companies cover equally for injected and oral medicines. The rule will apply to all types of expenses, deductible, co-pays, having aggregate lifetime caps or annual limits.
Supporters of this law argue that the treatment with pills is more convenient, as the patient does not have to spend time on trips to clinics to receive the medicine and therefore can spend more time with family and at work.
The senator who initiated the law says that oral drugs may be the only available treatment or the best possible one, in which case everybody should be able to afford the most effective and appropriate medicine. The senator had also lost his son due to cancer.
The law is expected to be discussed in the House just after the summer break. The chair of the Insurance Committee said that he already started to speak with interest groups taking both sides. A meeting with cancer survivors is expected to take place next week.
Issues have been raised concerning the costs that will be brought by this new obligation bestowed upon insurance companies.
The state Chamber of Commerce has also taken opposition towards the matter. Presumably, a third of Michigan’s population will have to deal with higher premiums because of the costs of the new law.
The main argument against the bill is that it does not address the cause of this rise in expenses paid directly by the patient. The cause is believed to be the continuous increase in medicine prices. Interference in private contracts could be taken as an argument in lowering the costs for other types of drugs, such as those used in arthritis.
The high prices for pills are justified exactly by the fact that tablets are more convenient than IV medication, and therefore, they should be more expensive.
40 states have already set laws on equal coverage for chemotherapy medication, and Alaska will be joining them soon. In recurring cancer types, such as ovarian cancer, being able to try new medication becomes crucial for prolonging patients’ lives.
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