Do you know someone with cancer? Then you probably know that they are vulnerable to discrimination when they try to get health insurance.
Often they are denied coverage because of their pre-existing condition. They might be charged high premiums they can’t afford or be forced to settle for plans that offer inadequate coverage. It’s not enough that cancer patients have to fight the disease; they have to fight for insurance, too.
Fortunately, cancer survivors have new hope because, when fully implemented in 2014, provisions in the new federal health care law will correct these failures in the health insurance market.
However, this law will only work if all Americans are required to have health insurance. Without that requirement, healthy people tend to avoid buying insurance until they need it. That leaves insurance plans to cover a sicker population – driving up costs for everyone in the health care system.
The U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing the individual responsibility requirement in the health care law. Because I have many friends and family members who are cancer survivors, I’ll be following closely.
(Hedegaard is a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.)