A report released last Thursday by the American Cancer Society and the Kaiser Family Foundation depicts the plight of people with cancer and other serious illnesses even when they have private health insurance.
The report highlights five key gaps in the health care system:
- High co payments and exhaustion of benefits as a result of annual and life time coverage caps imposed by insurers;
- Unaffordable coverage through COBRA, the program that allows former employees to pay for coverage after they leave a job;
- High costs of individual health plans, which often exclude applicants based on pre-existing conditions;
- Long waits and delays for Medicare and Medicaid coverage; and
- State high-risk pools that are offered only in 35 states and can be costly for individual members.
Fellow New Yorker and cancer survivor, Bridget Kane, was unable to afford COBRA and went without health insurance for two years. During this time Bridget was fighting stage-three breast cancer. Because the care was so expensive, she often went without seeing the doctor for several months and did not fill her prescriptions. While she is now covered by Medicare, Bridget and her family remain reminds in dire financial straits due to medical care costs. Watch Bridget’s speak out about her experience: