Millions of People Expected to use Health Insurance Marketplaces in 2014

New online tools will empower thousands of people touched by cancer as implementation of the
Affordable Care Act continues.

HAMPTON, Va., Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) and National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) announce the newest resource added to their suite of patient materials geared to help cancer patients as they interact with the new Health Insurance Marketplaces launching on October 1st.  In addition to an updated edition of A User's Guide to the Health Insurance Marketplaces, the newly available Cancer Insurance Checklist will aid cancer patients as they use their state's Marketplace to research and ultimately choose an insurance plan in 2014. 

NPAF published a revised edition of the Health Reform and You: A User's Guide to Health Insurance Marketplaces with updates that include web locations for all 50 state marketplaces and the District of Columbia as well as information clarifying publicized delays of insurance benefits. The user's guide contains easy-to-understand language to help introduce patients, caregivers and providers to the newest mechanism available for selecting and enrolling in quality insurance coverage.

"Perhaps the most important decision a patient will make once in the marketplace is which plan to select and ultimately enroll given the variety of options presented," stated Dr. Alan Balch, Chief Executive Officer of PAF and NPAF. The launch of the Cancer Insurance Checklist developed by PAF, NPAF and a group of 18 partnering cancer and patient advocacy organizations, is a resource to help people with cancer, a history of cancer or a risk of cancer choose insurance that will best meet their medical needs.

The Cancer Insurance Checklist, available online at CancerInsuranceChecklist.org and patientadvocate.org/healthcarereform steers consumers to carefully review the coverage details within each insurance plan they are considering given the potential for significant medical and financial impact in the future.  

The checklist suggests patients pay close attention to:

  • Coverage for services provided by their current health care team in network
  • Locations and facilities where care is delivered, including whether any current treating facility is covered within plan network
  • Copayments and deductibles associated with medications and the plan's drug formulary
  • Exclusions related to various cancer treatments and services they may potentially need
  • Monthly premium costs balanced with the out-of-pocket costs associated with care

The Checklist also provides a worksheet to help the consumer detail the costs associated with each plan. "The coalition of patient-focused nonprofits involved wanted to ensure that the Checklist would be easy to use for consumers evaluating insurance plans on the Marketplace or when discussing plans in-person with a navigator or health care provider," shared Dr. Balch.

"Beginning tomorrow, patients touched by cancer will have the option to begin exploring their state's marketplace and for the first time to have plans free of pre-existing condition limitations based on their health history and current diagnosis," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Founder and Chairman of the Board of PAF and NPAF. "We know through our experience and case management support of those battling life-threatening diagnosis that having adequate insurance coverage for the services your doctor prescribes can be instrumental to both a patients' survival and financial stability." The User's Guide and the Cancer Insurance Checklist tool are available today to help patients make educated decisions when selecting a plan, balancing both their health needs and their budgets.

People with current cancer concerns or those with a family history of cancer can download and print the Cancer Insurance Checklist free of charge by visiting www.CancerInsuranceChecklist.org. The most up-to-date version of the User's Guide to Health Insurance Marketplaces can be downloaded at www.patientadvocate.org/marketplaceguide.

About Patient Advocate Foundation
PAF is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1996, that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation ensuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of financial stability relative to their diagnosis of chronic, life threatening or debilitating disease. Patient Advocate Foundation has been consistently rated as a 4-star "exceptional" charity by Charity Navigator, the foremost independent evaluator of charities in the United States. For more information about Patient Advocate Foundation, please visit www.patientadvocate.org.

About National Patient Advocate Foundation
National Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization providing the patient voice in improving access to, and reimbursement for, high-quality healthcare through regulatory and legislative reform at the state and federal levels. NPAF translates the experience of millions of patients who have been helped by our companion, Patient Advocate Foundation, which provides professional case management services to individuals facing barriers to healthcare access for chronic and disabling disease, medical debt crisis and employment-related issues at no cost. More information can be found at www.npaf.org.

More details about the Cancer Insurance Checklist 
The Cancer Insurance Checklist was created through a partnership of the following organizations: The Assistance Fund, Association of Community Cancer Centers, Avalere Health, Cancer Support Community, Chronic Disease Fund, Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation, International Myeloma Foundation, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer Alliance, Melanoma Research Foundation, Men's Health Network, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Patient Advocate Foundation, Oncology Nursing Society, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Patient Advocate Foundation, Patient Services, Inc. and Prevent Cancer Foundation. Production costs for the Cancer Insurance Checklist were supported by a grant from Novartis Oncology. The Checklist as well as a glossary of insurance terms frequently used in the Marketplace can be found at www.cancerinsurancechecklist.org.

SOURCE National Patient Advocate Foundation; Patient Advocate Foundation

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