Starting next September, women at increased risk for breast cancer will be able to get some drugs shown to help prevent the disease without a co-pay, the Obama administration said Thursday.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended last September that clinicians give medications such as tamoxifen or raloxifene to such women to reduce their risk of the disease. Under the Affordable Care Act, items or services rated A or B by the independent review board of physicians and academics must be covered by insurers without a co-pay or deductible. Insurers are given a year to make the change.
A spokesman for the insurance industry noted that while helping breast cancer patients get care is "a top priority for health plans," prescription drugs are not "free" and the costs of those drugs would be reflected in the premiums that all consumers pay for coverage.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network praised the requirement, saying it would help more women stay healthy, thereby saving money in the long term. "This policy means millions of women at high risk for breast cancer will know they can access proven risk-reducing medications at no cost to them," said American Cancer Society spokesman Steve Weiss. (Physicians News)
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