PHOENIX, 5/1/14 – Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2078 into law Wednesday, making Arizona the 32nd state in the United States to have cost-parity for oral anticancer drugs. Beginning January 1, 2016, HB2078, sponsored by Representative Heather Carter (LD15), requires health insurance companies with plans that cover intravenous (IV) anticancer treatments and oral anticancer treatments to not discriminate against oral treatments by way of higher co-payments, deductibles or coinsurance.
“With the passage and signing of HB2078, I’m very pleased that our elected officials did the right thing to stand up and represent all cancer patients,” said Carter. “By requiring insurance plans that already cover cancer treatments to treat all cancer drugs equally, it is now up to patients working with their doctors to decide what is the best available course of treatment for their condition. This also opens up a world of affordable options for rural cancer patients who don’t live near a treatment center.”
The way many health insurance plans are written today, IV anticancer treatments are covered under the medical benefits portion of the plan while self-administered oral anticancer treatments are covered as a prescription benefit and are subject to much higher out-of-pocket costs. Often, the newest and most effective cancer treatments are only available in oral form.
HB2078 received extensive support from the Fair Access to Cancer Treatment Coalition and from legislators as the bill sailed through both the Arizona House and Senate, in committees and on the floor, with unanimous votes every step of the way.
“We are proud of the hard work of our FACT Coalition and grateful for the bipartisan support that made the passage of this legislation possible,” said Jim Brewer, executive director of the Arizona Chapter of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. “We did not have one single vote against this bill throughout the entire process, which is proof of this broad support and recognition of how important this issue is to Arizona cancer patients.”
Other legislators that were key players in the passage of HB2078 are: Sen. Adam Driggs (LD28), Sen. Nancy Barto (LD15) and Sen. Anna Tovar (LD19).
The FACT Coalition is made up of several patient advocacy groups and medical providers including: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, International Myeloma Foundation, AZ Cancer Coalition, Scottsdale Healthcare, Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers, Latino Cancer Coalition, Banner Health, Oncology Nurses Society, ICAN – International Cancer Advocacy Network, TACOS – The Arizona Clinical Oncology Society, Arizona Oncology, ACCC, Komen (Central/Northern AZ Affiliate and Southern AZ Affiliate), North Country HealthCare, The National CML Society, Lymphoma Research Foundation, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona Myeloma Network, and AIM at Melanoma.
For more information, contact the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Arizona Chapter Executive Director Jim Brewer at 602-567-7600.