CRANBURY, NJ (July 25, 2022) – Seasoned navigators witnessed positive change for their patients when Congress increased the amount of and expanded eligibility for Advanced Premium Tax Credits, otherwise known as subsidies as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, in March 2021. This action made premiums in the health insurance marketplaces more affordable for millions. Unfortunately, there are still nearly as many people who are not able to access affordable, comprehensive health insurance because their states have not yet expanded their Medicaid programs to address “coverage gaps.”
In fact, a recent poll showed that 51 percent of cancer patients and survivors report incurring medical debt because of their cancer care. Forty-five percent of these patients have delayed or avoided medical care for serious issues as a result of the debt they incurred.1
Recently, the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigator’s (AONN+) Policy and Advocacy Committee joined the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in sending a letter from the cancer community to Congressional leadership asking Congress to enact important access to care policy priorities as part of the reconciliation package currently being considered. Specifically, these priorities include:
- Permanently extends expanded subsidies in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces
- Permanently fixes the Medicaid “coverage gap”
- Enacts a cap on out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries
“As navigators we understand how a cancer diagnosis can add stress and hardship to an already difficult situation,” says Sharon Gentry, MSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, AOCN, CBCN, AONN+ Program Director. “By universally enacting and expanding legislation, such as the American Rescue Plan Act, Congress can provide families nationwide with the support they desperately need during any healthcare crisis.”
The American Rescue Plan Act is set to expire at the end of 2022. A projected 3 million people will become uninsured if the enhanced subsides expire at the end of the year and 8.9 million people would see reductions in their subsidies of $406 per person annually on average.2 In addition, an estimated 2.2 million low-income adults who would benefit from Medicaid if their state expanded coverage are in the “coverage gap,” uninsured and unable to qualify for affordable health insurance.3
- American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Survivor Views: Cancer & Medical Debt. Fed. 2022 Survey Findings. https://www.fightcancer.org/sites/default/files/national_documents/survivor_views_cancer_debt_0.pdf.
- Branham DK, Eibner C, Girosi F, Liu J, Finegold K, Peters C, Sommers BD. Projected Coverage and Subsidy Impacts if the American Rescue Plan’s Marketplace Provisions Sunset in 2023. (Issue Brief No. HP-2002-10). Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. March 23, 2022. https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1647ad29528ee85a48d6ffa9e7bfbc8f/arp-ptc-sunset-impacts-03-22-22%20Final.pdf.
- Garfield R, Orgera K, Damico A. The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States that Do Not Expand Medicaid. Kaiser Family Found. January 21, 2021. https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/the-coverage-gap-uninsured-poor-adults-in-states-that-do-not-expand-medicaid/.
About the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+)
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+), is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 8900 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process. www.aonnonline.org
For Immediate Release
Gwen Coverdale, 267-884-6328