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August 3, 1999

Ryan Signs Legislation For Cancer Patient Treatments

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation requiring insurance companies to offer the option of coverage for "investigational" cancer treatments, which would include routine care in connection with clinical trials.

"As advances are made in medical research, patients and physicians are eager to try new treatments which may offer better results than current, more accepted cancer treatments," said Ryan.

"Insurance companies have been reluctant to pay for these treatments because they can be pretty expensive and might cause additional health problems for the patient. But for someone fighting for his or her health, costs should not be an issue," he said.

Ryan said House Bill 1622 will provide a transitional period to determine whether insurance coverage for routine costs associated with 'investigational' cancer treatment is a practical solution to the difficulties individuals face when they are seeking treatment.

House Bill 1622 allows insurers to set an annual benefit limit of $10,000 for routine care associated with the investigational cancer treatments and requires that the costs of the treatment be paid by the sponsor of the clinical trial.

Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood, a breast cancer survivor, supported efforts to adopt the legislation in the General Assembly. "As a cancer survivor, I applaud Governor Ryan's leadership in taking this important step to benefit cancer patients,"

Wood said.

"I know from my own personal battle with breast cancer the importance of cutting edge treatment to cancer patients. After years of sponsoring and actively supporting clinical trials legislation, I am very proud of the Governor's action today."

The bill requires the Department of Insurance to conduct a study of the costs and benefits of the establishment of coverage for investigation cancer treatments.

The bill allows the insurers offer of the option of coverage requirement to sunset on January 1, 2003. The Department of Insurance will submit the results of its study to the Governor and the General Assembly by March 1, 2003.


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