Some cancer patients receive chemotherapy administered intravenously at a hospital, medical lab or doctor's office. Others might have to get repeated injections on an outpatient basis.
A simpler, less painful and more convenient way to treat the disease in some cases is oral chemotherapy. Unfortunately, it can be more expensive - not for an insurer, but for a patient.
That's because most private insurers categorize IVs and injections as a medical benefit, and pick up most - sometimes all - the bill. But the same plans often consider oral chemo as a prescription drug, with accompanying copayments.
The Cancer Treatment Modernization Bill, introduced in the Ohio Senate, would require insurers to cover oral cancer treatments the same way as other forms of chemotherapy. A rally at the Statehouse today drew attention to the measure, which was assigned to a committee last summer; no hearings have been set.
Insurers warn such a measure would raise premiums. But a study by Milliman Inc., an actuarial and benefits consulting firm, estimated the increase would be less than $6 a year for people covered by most plans.
At least a dozen other states require state-regulated health plans to cover oral treatments just like other forms of chemo. It's time for committee members to study the impact on premiums in those states and schedule hearings on the bill.