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Sebelius Releases New Report on Benefits of Health Insurance Reform for Women with Breast Cancer


As Americans mark breast cancer awareness month, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius today released a new report, Health Insurance Reform and Breast Cancer: Making the Health Care System Work for Women. The reportdetails how health insurance reform will help women diagnosed with breast cancer and is available now at

“Thousands of women and their families are impacted by breast cancer,” Secretary Sebelius said. “We are fighting for health reform that will help improve treatment for women with breast cancer and doing all we can to encourage women to take the simple steps that can help prevent this disease.”

The new report highlights the problems in the health care status quo that significantly impact women who are diagnosed with breast cancer or are breast cancer survivors. The report notes:

* Breast cancer is the second leading type of cancer among women. The disease will affect one in eight American women during their lifetime, with treatment costs totaling $7 Billion in 2007.
* Breast cancer patients with employer-based insurance had total out-of-pocket costs averaging $6,250 in 2007, higher than out-of-pocket spending for patients with asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or high blood pressure.
* Breast cancer patients, even when in remission, are unlikely to find meaningful insurance coverage in the individual insurance market. A full 11 percent of individuals with any cancer said they could not obtain health coverage in the individual insurance market.

“Today, breast cancer patients incur thousands of dollars in debt, and breast cancer survivors struggle to get the affordable care they need,” Sebelius added. “Health insurance reform will bring costs down, make care more affordable and prevent insurance companies from discriminating against breast cancer survivors.”


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