ASCO, Other Societies and Patient Advocates Urge CMS to Correct Inequity in Medicare Coverage for Clinical Trials

March 15, 2013

ASCO, patient advocacy groups, and other provider organizations recently sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging the agency to correct a longstanding inequity in Medicare coverage for cancer patients wishing to participate in clinical trials.

Under current CMS policy, individuals in Medicare Advantage plans are required to relinquish their MA coverage and revert to standard fee-for-service Medicare if they wish to participate in a clinical trial. As the letter explains, MA plans typically involve lower costs and provide more comprehensive coverage than fee-for-service plans.

The letter urges CMS to correct this inequity by requiring in the final 2014 plan document that Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for cancer clinical trials.

In addition to ASCO, the groups signing the letter include American Association for Cancer Research, Association of American Cancer Institutes, Association of Community Cancer Centers, National Coalition for Cancer Research, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Oncology Nursing Society, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.