(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Apprehensive over costly medical co-payments that quickly exceed annual coverage limits, Commissioner Rebeca Sosa presented a resolution urging Congress and the Florida Legislature to require insurance companies to provide equivalent coverage of oral and intravenous cancer drugs. This measure would help mend the disparity that exists between the insurance coverage of the terminal disease drugs. The resolution passed during the Tuesday, November 15, 2011 Board of County Commissioners meeting.
"This will relieve patients that often have to make the difficult choice of either paying additional cost of medications or go without them because of how pricey it can be to obtain them,” stated Commissioner Sosa. “Patients battling cancer should not have to experience additional burdens during their treatment process, and essentially have to choose between what could be life or death.”
Health insurance typically covers medications for cancer treatments that are infused intravenously at a clinic. However, oral cancer drugs are covered as regular prescription drugs under health insurance company plans. As a result, larger co-payments are required from the patients, often forcing them to deplete their family’s savings in order to cover these exorbitant expenses.
Congressman Brian Higgins (D-New York) has sponsored H.R. 24746, the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act of 2011, which would require group and individual health insurance coverage and group plans to provide coverage of the oral drugs on terms equal to that of the intravenously-administered medication. There have been similar bills introduced in about 20 other states.
Representative Jeanette Nunez, a member of our local delegation, has filed HB 623, related to Cancer Chemotherapy Parity, for consideration by the Florida Legislature during the upcoming legislative session. The bill would require individual or group insurance policies and health maintenance contracts providing coverage for cancer chemotherapy to provide at least equally favorable coverage for prescribed, orally administered anticancer medications. At this time, a companion bill has not been filed in the Florida Senate.
The Clerk of the Board will transmit a certified copy of Commissioner Sosa’s resolution to the members of the Florida Congressional Delegation, U.S. Representative Brian Higgins, Florida’s Governor, Florida’s Senate President, Florida’s House Speaker, and the Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade County State Legislative Delegation. The resolution also directs the County's state and federal lobbyists to advocate for the passage of the legislation, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2012 Federal Legislative Package and the 2012 State Legislative Package.
For more information or to obtain a copy of this resolution, please contact the office of Commissioner Sosa at 305-267-6377.