Patients, doctors, and insurance experts to study clinical trial coverage
HELENA, Mont. – Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen will bring a council of healthcare providers, insurance professionals, cancer survivors, and patient advocates together at the same table for the first time on Wednesday, September 28th at the Best Western GranTree Inn in Bozeman to study ways to improve insurance coverage for cancer treatments.
“I am excited to get patients, providers, and insurance experts working together on this important issue,” said Lindeen. “Cancer patients should not have to worry about insurance covering their treatment during the most difficult times in their life. The decision to use new cancer treatments should be between doctors and patients, not left to insurance companies to cover case-by-case.”
Bozeman Rep. Kathleen Williams carried House Bill 615 in the 2011 legislature which requires the Insurance Commissioner to study ways to clarify insurance coverage for cancer patients seeking clinical trials. Williams sponsored the bill after many Bozeman area residents shared their difficulties in getting insurance to cover routine care when participating in a clinical trial. Currently, insurance companies cover routine care for patients in clinical trials on a case-by-case basis, which is confusing for patients and medical providers alike. The council will study and recommend ways to establish consistent coverage for Montana’s patients.
The council includes two Bozeman-area cancer patients, as well as providers and administrators from hospitals around the state. The council will evaluate the causes for coverage denials, identify necessary federal policy changes to address denials, define routine care for cancer patients, and make recommendations to Lindeen’s office for a legislative fix.
Public comment periods at 4:00 and 5:00 will give the general public an opportunity to share their experiences and participate in the study process. Additional public comment can be submitted in writing or at future council meetings until the council makes its recommendations in 2012. For more information on the study and the council’s meetings, visit www.csi.mt.gov or call the Commissioner’s office at 800-332-6148.