Access to quality, affordable cancer care is essential for anyone with a cancer diagnosis. Access includes adequate health insurance that covers needed treatments without leaving people with cancer to suffer “financial toxicity.” People with cancer also need the ability to participate in a clinical trial, if it represents a potential treatment option.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), cancer survivors were at the mercy of the health care system, often forced to pay exorbitant premiums or simply denied coverage altogether. Today, America’s 17 million cancer survivors benefit from the ACA’s patient protections that provide them with quality, affordable, and accessible health care coverage. Through the ACA, cancer patients and survivors can now purchase insurance through Healthcare.gov and state insurance exchanges. The ACA has afforded protections related to out-of-pocket expenses, lifetime caps, and pre-existing conditions.
NCCS believes in the following principles for access to care:
Individuals with pre-existing conditions must not be denied coverage or charged higher premiums.
Plans must cover all essential health care needs.
Adequate financial assistance must be provided to ensure people with low and moderate incomes can purchase health insurance.
Insurers must not discriminate against older Americans, who are disproportionately impacted by cancer, or women.
Cost-sharing protections must be maintained, including caps on out-of-pocket costs and the elimination of annual and lifetime maximum benefits.
States should take advantage of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which provides coverage to low income individuals living with cancer.
People with pre-existing conditions must not be segregated into high-risk pools, which are expensive and burdensome and do not meet the needs of cancer patients.
Cancer patients must have access to comprehensive and well-coordinated cancer care, including clinical trials.
“For a cancer survivor, dealing with the collateral damage of cancer treatment and the continued surveillance for recurrence or secondary cancers, going without insurance is simply not an option. I am very worried that the proposed replacement for the ACA will harm cancer survivors, particularly people with low incomes and people over the age of 50. We simply can’t go back to the days before the ACA when cancer survivors could be denied coverage, and we must ensure people have access to quality, affordable health insurance.”
Michael Kappel, NCCS board member and 13-year colon cancer survivor
Dr. L. Imani Price is a licensed psychologist at Women’s InnerFitness and Wellness Center and serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Breast Care for Washington, D.C. Dr. Price suggests this expert advice: Many survivors are experiencing stress, anxiety, and PTSD from the new expectations and restrictions resulting from [...]
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NCCS Hosts First-Ever Virtual Cancer Policy Roundtable – Last week, NCCS hosted its spring Cancer Policy Roundtable event, which convened patient advocates, providers, health care experts, and government agencies to discuss pressing issues in cancer care policy. NCCS has been hosting roundtables for 20 years, but given the public health crisis we are currently facing, this was the first virtual roundtable event. We are proud to say that it was a success, [...]
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The Trump administration decided against opening a special enrollment period for Healthcare.gov, which would allow uninsured individuals to purchase plans outside of the open enrollment period. NCCS joined with 28 patient and consumer groups to urge the administration to implement a special enrollment period as the nation fights to protect its citizens from the COVID-19 virus. The Affordable Care Act does allow for people who have lost [...]
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New Resource Available: Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns from Cancer Survivors about COVID-19 — NCCS has heard from many survivors who feel uniquely vulnerable due to their history of cancer treatments. And we have heard from people currently in treatment, who are worried about delays in care and navigating [...]
Cancer survivors have expressed concerns and questions about COVID-19, the coronavirus, and how they may be at higher risk due to their cancer history. Here are some resources about COVID-19 generally, and its impact for cancer survivors specifically. NCCS is seeking answers from public health experts on the coronavirus and its impact on cancer patients and survivors. Please leave a comment [...]
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In these challenging times, we at NCCS continue to work for you, advocating for and supporting cancer survivors, caregivers, advocates, and providers. We have heard from many survivors who feel uniquely vulnerable due to their history of cancer treatments. And we have heard from people currently in treatment, who are worried about delays in care and navigating a stressed health care system. [...]
The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear a third major challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The court did not say when it would hear the case, but arguments are likely to begin this fall, with a decision in the spring or summer of 2021. Read Vox’s primer to learn about the entire case and what is expected to happen next. The ACA has been the law of the land for ten years now. NCCS celebrated this milestone with other patient advocacy [...]
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How Should Patients Be Protected From “Surprise” Medical Bills? The Latest: Democratic and Republican House staffers met with Speaker Pelosi’s office to try to protect patients from getting large “surprise” medical bills. There was no breakthrough, according to The Hill. The Issue: Patients can receive extremely high medical bills during emergency situations when they are taken to an out-of-network hospital, or from out-of-network providers, even [...]
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The Ellen L. Stovall Award for Innovation in Patient-Centered Cancer Care is a unique opportunity for patients and survivors to recognize pioneers who are transforming the cancer care system.
The NCCS Cancer Policy & Advocacy Team (CPAT) is a program for survivors and caregivers to learn about pressing policy issues that affect quality cancer care in order to be engaged as advocates in public policy around the needs of cancer survivors.
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NCCS represents the millions of Americans who share a common experience – the survivorship experience – living with, through and beyond a cancer diagnosis.
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