Online tool to empower cancer patients

September 30, 2013 in Medical Technology

The Patient Advocate Foundation and National Patient Advocate Foundation have announced the newest resource added to their suite of patient materials geared to help cancer patients as they interact with the new Health Insurance Marketplaces launching Oct. 1. 

In addition to an updated edition of A User’s Guide to the Health Insurance Marketplaces, the newly available Cancer Insurance Checklist will aid cancer patients as they use their state’s marketplace to research and ultimately choose an insurance plan in 2014. 

NPAF published a revised edition of the Health Reform and You: A User’s Guide to Health Insurance Marketplaces with updates that include Web locations for all 50 state marketplaces and the District of Columbia as well as information clarifying publicized delays of insurance benefits. The user’s guide contains easy-to-understand language to help introduce patients, caregivers and providers to the newest mechanism available for selecting and enrolling in quality insurance coverage.

“Perhaps the most important decision a patient will make once in the marketplace is which plan to select and ultimately enroll given the variety of options presented,” stated Alan Balch, CEO of PAF and NPAF, in a Sept. 30 news release. The launch of the Cancer Insurance Checklist, developed by PAF, NPAF and a group of 18 partnering cancer and patient advocacy organizations, is a resource to help people with cancer, a history of cancer or a risk of cancer choose insurance that will best meet their medical needs.

The Cancer Insurance Checklist, available online, steers consumers to carefully review the coverage details within each insurance plan they’re considering given the potential for significant medical and financial impact in the future. ??The checklist suggests patients pay close attention to:

  • Coverage for services provided by their current health care team in network
  • Locations and facilities where care is delivered, including whether any current treating facility is covered within plan network
  • Copayments and deductibles associated with medications and the plan’s drug formulary
  • Exclusions related to various cancer treatments and services they may potentially need
  • Monthly premium costs balanced with the out-of-pocket costs associated with care

The checklist also provides a worksheet to help the consumer detail the costs associated with each plan. “The coalition of patient-focused nonprofits involved wanted to ensure that the checklist would be easy to use for consumers evaluating insurance plans on the Marketplace or when discussing plans in-person with a navigator or health care provider,” said Balch.

“Beginning tomorrow, patients touched by cancer will have the option to begin exploring their state’s marketplace and for the first time to have plans free of pre-existing condition limitations based on their health history and current diagnosis,” said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, founder and chairman of the board of PAF and NPAF. “We know through our experience and case management support of those battling life-threatening diagnosis that having adequate insurance coverage for the services your doctor prescribes can be instrumental to both a patients’ survival and financial stability.” 

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