Cancer drug coverage bill passes the Senate

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate has passed legislation co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos to give insurance patients access to all forms of chemotherapy, regardless of how it is administered.

“Michigan is the only Great Lakes state and one of only seven states nationwide that treats insurance coverage of IV and orally administered chemotherapy treatments differently,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Although IV therapies are more invasive, they are fully covered under a person’s medical benefit, while oral treatments could cost patients thousands of dollars a month. Most importantly, some cancers can only be treated by oral medications.

“This reform is about saving lives and reducing costs by ensuring that Michigan patients always have access to the best treatments available when battling cancer.”

Senate Bill 492 would ensure that if a health insurance plan covers oral chemotherapy drugs, the medicine must be covered the same way intravenously or injected anticancer treatments are covered.

“If a patient in Michigan needs oral chemotherapy, the lifesaving treatment is currently covered as a prescription benefit,” Proos said. “The high out-of-pocket costs can force some patients to choose less effective treatment methods.

“I was proud to vote for this important legislation, which would ensure that Southwest Michigan patients never have to worry about the cost of cancer medications when choosing the best treatment in their fight.”

SB 492 has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note — Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.