HAMPTON, Va., May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) today applauded the Delaware General Assembly and Governor Jack Markell for approving and signing into law legislation that will help Delaware's insured cancer patients access their physician-prescribed anti-cancer medications of choice. The Delaware Cancer Treatment Access Act (House Bill 265), sponsored by Representative Deborah Hudson (R-12), will create parity in insurance coverage for oral anti-cancer medications and was signed into law today at a ceremony in Dover attended by bill supporters, members of the cancer community and patient advocates, including NPAF representatives.
"We thank Rep. Hudson and the Delaware General Assembly for taking this important step to help the state's cancer patients who have been struggling to access the prescribed oral anti-cancer medications that they prefer," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, founder and CEO of the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) and National Patient Advocate Foundation. "Thanks to the enactment of this legislation, Delaware's physicians and cancer patients will be better able to make treatment decisions based on the best treatment protocol for each individual's particular case."
Although oral anti-cancer medications are increasingly available for treating various types of cancer and patients often prefer it to intravenous (IV) chemotherapy, insurance coverage can be a hindrance to patients' access to these treatments. Because health insurance plans often cover oral anti-cancer medications under prescription drug coverage, which is generally not as comprehensive or financially feasible as coverage for IV drugs, this disparity in coverage can leave many cancer patients with no choice but to sit for hours at a time in a cancer care facility while they undergo physically difficult IV treatments.
With the enactment of the Delaware Cancer Treatment Access Act, Delaware's group and individual health insurance plans will now be required to provide coverage for oral anti-cancer medications at a cost to the patient that is no greater than the cost of intravenous or injectable chemotherapy agents, thus providing greater opportunity for cancer patients to secure these medications taken at home.
"We thank Rep. Hudson and Delaware's lawmakers for coming together in a bipartisan manner to provide equal opportunity for cancer patients who are seeking oral anti-cancer medications," noted Larry Lanier, Executive Vice President of State Government Affairs for NPAF. "By enacting this measure, insured patients in Delaware fighting cancer will be able access the anti-cancer treatment of their choice without cost being an unrealistic barrier."
SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation