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Health insurers should 'keep up with medical advances'

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As a cancer survivor, I know the benefit of oral chemotherapy. The newest cancer medicines are highly effective because they are targeted to a specific cancer. They also cause fewer side effects and can be taken right at home. This convenience is no small factor for those of us in Greater Minnesota. The alternative is to lose an entire day and sometimes travel up to hundreds of miles to the nearest cancer center.

Being treated at home with a simple pill is a Godsend for many.

Unfortunately, the out-of-pocket costs for oral chemotherapy can put access to this lifesaving treatment out of reach. Depending on the policy or health plan, cancer patients may have to pay hundreds of dollars every month.

Some lawmakers are trying to fix this problem. The Oral Chemotherapy Parity Act would require that Minnesota health plans do not charge patients more out-of-pocket for oral chemotherapy than they do for traditional intravenous chemotherapy.

It's time for insurers to keep up with medical advances by covering the most effective cancer treatments rather than creating barriers. I hope State Legislators and the Governor move quickly to help cancer patients afford oral chemotherapy so we can get back to work and get back to life.

-- Robianne Schultz, Perham

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