Cancer treatment bill awaits Scott’s signature

 


dchang@MiamiHerald.com

Among the healthcare-related achievements of the legislative session that ended last week: passage of the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, a bill that now awaits the signature — or veto — of Gov. Rick Scott. It would require insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy treatment in the same manner they cover the treatment when administered intravenously by injection.

Currently, cancer patients in Florida who receive their medication in pills may face high, out-of-pocket expenses because most insurers consider the drugs a pharmaceutical benefit and do not cover their cost except when the chemotherapy is administered in a clinic.

The legislation enjoyed broad support among leadership in the Florida Senate and the House of Representatives — with 24 co-sponsors in the Senate and 79 in the House. The law would go into effect in July 2014.

According to a House analysis of the bill, oral chemotherapy is a growing trend: More than 25 percent of the 400 chemotherapy drugs in development are planned as oral medications. The analysis cites Pharmaceutical Executive magazine as stating that patient out-of-pocket costs for oral cancer medicine averaged $2,942 in 2009, which represented a 17 percent increase over the costs in 2008.

A number of states have been pushing insurance companies to cover the pills the same way they cover traditional chemotherapy treatments. Between 2008 and April 2013, 22 states and the District of Columbia have enacted oral chemotherapy parity laws, and all of them have prohibited insurers from raising rates on intravenous and injectable chemotherapy treatment.

Read more Healthcare Reform stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category