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Cancer, Fertility, and the Supreme Court

On March 23, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. This bill was designed to fill some of the health care gaps that prevented many Americans from receiving affordable health insurance. Since that time, the legality of the bill has been questioned and this past Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States of America found the principle components of the bill to be constitutional in a case titled National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (the Secretary of Health and Human Services).  One of the most controversial aspects of the bill requires that all American citizens acquire health care insurance or face a tax penalty, was also upheld. Many young cancer patients and survivors who are concerned with their fertility have also been affected by the bill and are assured that the changes implemented by the law are here to stay, as follows.

Beginning on September 23, 2010, the bill established that children under age 19 could no longer be denied health insurance coverage due to a preexisting condition, allowing parents of young children to freely change jobs without fear that their child would be denied insurance coverage under the new employer’s insurance. That date was also significant for older children, as children were allowed to maintain health care coverage under their parents plan until the age of 26 (previously it was 18 or higher if the child was a full time student) regardless of where they live or dependent/marital status.

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the Act, additional changes will be implemented on January 1, 2014. Starting then, health insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to anyone because of pre-existing conditions. This includes anything from cancer to pregnancy and will give young survivors the ability to get a job without risk of losing insurance coverage. Additionally, people will not be restricted to annual or lifetime limits, allowing young cancer survivors to face their survivorship without worrying about the financial ruin that may come with a recurrence.

Read more oncofertility coverage on the Affordable Care Act:

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