COLUMBUS– The Senate committee on Insurance and Financial Institutions today passed Senate Bill 99, sponsored by Senator Scott Oelslager (R–North Canton) and Senator Charleta Tavares (R-Columbus), which would enhance the treatment of cancer patients in Ohio by ensuring that patients have affordable, safe and effective access to modern anti-cancer medications.
“Scientific breakthroughs have changed the way of treating and caring for cancer patients,” Oelslager said. “We need to focus on lining up our policies with technological advances in the medical field, making modern medication affordable and available.”
Senate Bill 99 would create equity in patients’ out of pocket costs for oral anti-cancer therapy by prohibiting insurers from providing less favorable coverage for orally administered cancer medications than what is offered for intravenously or injected medications. This change attempts to safeguard patients’ access to medication deemed most appropriate by their physician.
“As more oral therapies become available to cancer patients, the design of health plan benefits must be modernized to reflect new methods of treating cancer,” Oelslager said. “Not only do oral therapies target cancer cells more directly, they also give an individual the opportunity to get back to work and live a more uninterrupted life.”
Currently, intravenous anti-cancer medications are typically covered under health plan’s medical benefits, requiring patients to pay an office visit co-payment with no payment for the drug. Meanwhile, orally-administered anti-cancer medications are typically covered under a health plan’s pharmacy benefit, and require higher co-payments, which can be a substantial percentage of the drug’s cost.
Senate bill 99 will now move to Ohio Senate Rules committee for referral to the full Senate floor.

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