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Law blocks insurers from upcharging for oral cancer treatment

New legislation approved this week will protect cancer patients in Pennsylvania from paying more for oral treatments.

The law ensures that insurers in Pennsylvania cannot increase a patient’s insurance rates simply because they are using oral forms of treatment.

Oral cancer treatment is newer than traditional, intravenous or injected chemotherapies, and tends to have fewer, less harmful side effects, according to the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

However, health insurance plans typically imposed higher co-payments, deductibles or coinsurance amounts for oral anticancer medicine, the society said.

Those practices are now illegal under a law signed last week by Gov. Tom Wolf. Pennsylvania is the 42nd state to enact a version of what is known as oral chemotherapy parity legislation.

A statewide coalition including cancer patients, the Pennsylvania Society of Oncology & Hematology and the Pennsylvania Medical Society worked with lawmakers on the bill to “ensure Pennsylvania cancer patients have access to the most effective treatment their physician recommends,” a news release said.

Lenay Ruhl

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