Lawmakers Look at Co pay Difference in Chemotherapy IV vs Pills - KOAM TV 7

Lawmakers Look at Co pay Difference in Chemotherapy IV vs Pills



 Missouri lawmakers hear a proposal to lower the cost of chemotherapy in pill form.
   Today a coalition of cancer support groups and some legislators proposed a bill in the Missouri house to force insurance companies to offer the same coverage for chemotherapy pills 
as the drugs that are administered intravenously.
       Currently large co-pays are required for chemotherapy in pill form. 
     Representative Sheila Solon of Blue Springs  argued for the bill today saying it will  put the choice back in the hands of patients instead of insurance companies. 
Judy Moore is a cancer patient who gets her treatment through an IV.  This is her last day of treatment but she sits at the Freeman Cancer Institute  for four hours.  Its something she's done for seven  months.
Chemotherapy  in pill form wasn't  an option for Judy a retiree but she can understand why others might want it. 

 Judy says, "It can take a toll on your work schedule, you might have  to take off more time than you expected to do."

A Freeman Cancer Institute doctor  says there's no difference in the outcome between oral and iv treatments. But patients prefer the pills, says Dr. Anisa Hassan because, " The quality of life is improved if on a tablet rather than being  stuck to an iv pole."

Missouri Representative Sheila Solon says it can be up to 26 days of lost work  for some cancer patients. She's fighting for a bill that  makes co pays for oral treatments the same as those for an iv. Solon says, "We say the word parity,  but its basically giving cancer patients the choice of what the best treatment is for them what their doctor recommends."

Dr. Hassan says there are times when wether or not a patient can afford the co-pay factors into what medicines she prescribes.   

 Dr. Hassan says many patients prefer chemotherapy by mouth than intravenous therapy because of convenience and fewer side effects. 

She says, "We  call it chemo light, it is gentler on patients in many ways,  so yes it's a good option."  But not an option for those who can't afford co-pays.  For those who are prescribed the drugs and need  help, social workers connect them with co-pay cards provided by charities created by the pharmaceutical companies.  

Ginger Brown a social worker at the Freeman Cancer Institute says one drug can cost seven thousand dollars a dose. Some insurance plans expect a ten, twenty or thirty percent co-pay. 
Ginger says patients come in everyday saying they can't afford their part which at times has topped nine-hundred dollars in a month. 

Ginger says, "People with commercial insurance, look at commercial your card it might says  25 percent of tier 4 , well if its 11 thousand a month (for the medicine) do the math. That's a lot of money .  Most anybody cant afford that. "

Solon says that means some choose to go without.  She says, "Studies show ten percent are foregoing treatment or splitting pills and not getting the correct  treatment they need." 

 27-other states including Oklahoma have passed legislation to force insurance companies to levy the same out of pocket costs for those insured, for either kind of treatment. 



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