Quinn Signs Legislation to Increase Affordability of Cancer Treatments

 Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthGovernor Pat Quinn signed legislation to ensure health insurance benefit equality between oral and injectable cancer drugs, allowing cancer patients more affordable treatment options and protecting them from significantly high out-of-pocket costs. House Bill 1825 requires private health insurance plans that provide coverage for oral and intravenous chemotherapy to cover both at the same benefit level.

Historically, chemotherapy drugs have been primarily administered intravenously. Today, many types of chemotherapy can be taken via a liquid, tablet or capsule, a less invasive therapy alternative. Oral chemotherapy is the only appropriate treatment for certain types of cancer, and can also provide an alternative for patients who have trouble responding to other treatments. Many healthcare benefit plans have not changed to ensure patient access to oral chemotherapy, resulting in some cancer patients facing higher out-of-pocket costs simply because their treatment is dispensed orally rather than intravenously. Illinois joins a number of states that have enacted cancer drug parity laws including Connecticut, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and New Mexico. Medicare recipients also receive this benefit for identical oral and intravenous chemotherapy drugs.

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