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SB 10: Cancer Clinical Trials Insurance Mandate

Bill would require Insurance coverage of all stages of cancer clinical trials

Saturday April 17, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – Senate Bill 10 passed the House floor today. The bill, sponsored by Senator Bettye Davis, D-Anchorage, removes important barriers to patient’s participation in cancer clinical trials in Alaska.  It requires that applicable health care plans cover routine patient care costs for patients enrolled in all phases of clinical trials, including prevention, detection, treatment, and supportive care of cancer. 

Medicaid, Medicare, the VA and military insurances already cover the benefits that SB 10 will soon provide Alaskans. Currently, some Alaska health plans exclude coverage for routine patient-care costs while a patient with cancer is enrolled in a clinical trial. The passing Senate Bill 10 mandates the coverage of these routine patient-care costs for all four phases of clinical trials. 

Without in-state facilities and support of clinical trials participants in Alaska currently have to travel out of state, increasing the cost of non-emergency transportation which is about 3% of total Medicaid costs.

Senator Bettye Davis said, “Clinical trials are so critical for patients and medical research. I am grateful to the legislators who support this bill and the doctors who testified in strong support of the bill. This will help thousands of cancer patients receive the necessary care they deserve. No one who has just received the unfortunate news of being diagnosed with cancer should ever have to fear not being covered under their health care plans for routine care because their enrolled in a clinical trial.”

Senate Bill 10 now heads to the Governor’s desk.

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