Charitable assistance programs, discrimination by insurers and other issues involving patient rights were all on the agenda Thursday, Aug. 25, when advocates with the American Diabetes Association and Chronic Disease Coalition met with Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader.
In a meeting at Schrader’s Oregon City office, patients spoke about the unfair targeting of chronic disease patients as insurance companies look to push them out of the private insurance marketplace and onto Medicare instead. Insurance companies have looked to limit patients’ abilities to use third-party premium and co-pay assistance programs so those who rely on the charitable financial assistance will instead have to look to Medicare for their coverage.
Unfortunately, we know that Medicare lacks the same coverage as private insurance, especially for patients with end stage renal disease (read more about that here: “Three reasons Medicare is not an equal substitute for private insurance”).
“Today a diverse group of Oregonians had a great meeting with Congressman Kurt Schrader. We talked about some of the issues important to diabetes, dialysis and chronic disease patients in general,” Chronic Disease Coalition Executive Director Scott Bruun said last week. “The congressman listened closely as we spoke of the need for federal research funding for a cure for Type 1 diabetes, as well as our concerns that big insurance companies seem to be increasingly targeting vulnerable chronic disease patients as a way to save a buck.”
Insurance companies have recently lobbied the government with claims about health care providers, when the truth is that insurance carriers are the ones improperly steering patients and limiting their access to the care of their choice.
We hope Congressman Schrader and other government leaders will listen to the voices of patients and protect their rights and prevent discriminatory policies when it comes to health insurance.