What does Health Reform Mean to Us?

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance welcomes the improvements contained in the health insurance reform bill that was passed by Congress late Monday, March 22nd.  For years, women with ovarian cancer have had to fight not only the disease, but to get appropriate treatments.  This bill contains many provisions that will help ovarian cancer patients including:

  • Eliminating lifetime and annual limits on benefits
  • Prohibition of eligibility based on health status
  • Requires insurance companies to guarantee and continue coverage
  • The immediate creation of high risk pools
  • The prohibition of co-pays for women’s health preventative services
  • The prohibition of excluding patients with pre-existing conditions from insurance plans
  • The elimination of gender rating — charging women more for insurance
  • Coverage for cancer clinical trials

Currently, women with employer sponsored health plans may be capped at $100,000 per year or $1 to $2 million for a lifetime.  Once those benefits are used, a woman will essentially be uncovered for the remainder of her ovarian cancer treatments.  The average first year Medicare payments for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are $26,800 — the most of any cancer.  However, recurrences and maintenance therapy can increase costs exponentially.

However, enactment is a first step in an ongoing process.  Many provisions of the bill will not take effect until 2014.  Even then, many Americans may be insured, but still fail to receive the right treatment at the right time.  The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance continues to support scientific advances to help develop a reliable early detection test, better and targeted treatments and the evidence to support effective use of these tools.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance works for policies that support the needs of women with ovarian cancer and those at high risk of developing the disease.  The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance does not endorse the bill as a whole, but believe that reform is necessary.

[Updated March 29, 2010]