Power. Progress. Prevention. June 22, 2018

June 22, 2018

June 22, 2018

New lawsuit challenges the Affordable Care Act

A collection of 20 states have filed a lawsuit, Texas et al. v. United States et al., disputing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The states claim that since the tax penalty for the Individual Mandate (the requirement that people purchase health insurance) has been eliminated, both the Mandate and the ACA as a whole are unconstitutional. The case currently sits with the District Court in the Northern District of Texas.

If the lawsuit is successful, it will have a major impact on health care coverage previously guaranteed by the ACA. In particular, this case jeopardizes coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions. Prior to the ACA, insurers were allowed to deny coverage to individuals with certain medical conditions (such as cancer) or charge them with extremely high, unaffordable premiums. If the states win the case, it would eliminate required coverage for essential health benefits, which include preventive screening and early detection services, as well as prescription drug coverage.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® supports full protections for cancer prevention and early detection services. Ensuring access to care and affordable coverage is crucial to improving the lives of cancer patients across the country.

We will continue to monitor this case and provide updates as soon as they become available.

Trump administration announces new association health plan rule

On Tuesday, the Trump administration finalized a new rule to expand access to association health plans (AHPs). The move will decrease regulations to allow more small business and self-employed workers to enter into the health insurance market. These plans are likely to attract younger, healthier consumers, which could increase health care premiums in Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces.

The aim of this rule is to offer consumers more options, increase competition in the insurance market and decrease health care costs for certain groups. But under the new rule, AHPs do not have to abide by ACA provisions for essential health benefits, like screening and early detection services, maternity care, and prescription drugs.

This could lower premiums for AHPs, but it could have harmful impacts on cancer patients—especially those who receive a diagnosis after switching to an AHP and don’t have adequate follow-up coverage. And while the rule does not allow plans to increase monthly premiums for pre-existing conditions, they are allowed to charge higher premiums based on other factors such as age, which allows them to indirectly raise costs for “high-risk” individuals.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® believes in affordable and accessible health care for all, but expanding access to AHPs could have serious consequences for individuals, such as rising premiums and inadequate coverage. AHPs could be available as soon as September 1. We will continue to provide updates on how these health plans will impact your insurance rates and coverage.

‘Sunscreen’ pills are putting your health at risk

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued a warning to companies claiming their pills and supplements can protect against sun damage. These claims are false, and the FDA has instructed them to correct this on their websites and product labels. The FDA says, “There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen.”

False claims like these put people’s health at risk. Be careful of potential risks of products you purchase. As a rule of thumb, the FDA has warned consumers to be wary of products that seem too good to be true.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis and the most preventable cancer in the United States. To protect yourself from cancer, always wear sunscreen and lip balm of SPF 30 or higher (UVA and UVB protection) and stay covered or in the shade whenever possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

New push for bill to defer student loan payments for cancer patients

This week, patient advocacy groups held a lobby day on Capitol Hill to garner more support for the Deferment for Active Cancer Treatment Act of 2017. The event was held on June 21, the one-year anniversary of the bill’s introduction in Congress.

Currently, undergoing cancer treatment does not qualify student loan borrowers for deferment on their payments. Once enacted, the bill would cover all future federal student loans as well as those still in repayment. The cost of cancer treatment is already a financial and emotional burden on patients and their families. Deferment of student loan payments during cancer treatment can help young cancer patients and their families cover the costs of lifesaving care and ease the financial stress of monthly payments.

Reducing the financial burden of loans increases the affordability of cancer care and allows patients to focus on their treatments and recovery. Learn more about the Deferment for Active Cancer Treatment Act

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