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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Governor signs Ackerman bill requiring insurers to cover biomarker testing for cancer treatment
STATE HOUSE – The governor has signed legislation sponsored House Deputy Majority Whip Mia A. Ackerman requiring private health insurers to cover biomarker testing.
Biomarker testing is a test of blood or other biological material to identify changes or abnormalities that may be associated with cancer. It can help a cancer patient’s medical team pinpoint the most effective course of treatment for that patient.
“Biomarker technology allows doctors to pinpoint treatment that has the best possibility for success for an individual patient. It saves lives, time and money, and it’s an important advantage in the fight against cancer. Covering it just makes good sense for insurers and patients alike,” said Representative Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln).
The legislation (
), which Gov. McKee signed ceremonially Friday, requires every policy offered by health insurers, nonprofit hospital service corporations, nonprofit medical service corporations, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for biomarker testing by Jan. 1, 2024. Matching legislation (
) sponsored in the Senate by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) was also enacted.
According to testimony provided by the International Cancer Advocacy Network (ICAN) in support of the bill, nothing helps more than biomarker testing in finding the right drugs at the right time for each individual cancer patient.
“Biomarker testing replaces educated guesswork with scientific evidence and makes truly personalized, precision medicine possible,” wrote Marcia K. Horn, ICAN president and CEO in her testimony.
She and other supporters noted that an insurance requirement would be especially helpful to those in disadvantaged populations, who are more likely to lack such coverage.
In addition to ICAN, the legislation is supported by the American Lung Association in Rhode Island, the American Cancer Action Network, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, the Legorreta Cancer Center at Brown University, the Global Colon Cancer Association, the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, the Latino Policy Institute and the National Marrow Donor Program, among other organizations.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
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