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Breast Cancer Law 10-Step: Protecting Your Legal Rights

By Neetal Parekh on October 16, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

October is in the air.  Leaves are changing color, kids are talking ghosts and goblins, and... the world is reminded that there still is no cure.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and amidst discussions of health care reform, individuals facing the disease or any form of cancer are often caught as unaware by their diagnosis as they are by how to safeguard their legal rights.

The American Bar Association (ABA) recently released an op-ed piece authored by the organization's President, Carolyn Lamm, focusing on the challenges faced by breast cancer patients.  One area discussed is workplace rights. The article identifies employment issues as one of the primary concerns of patients as they schedule time for treatment and recovery.

Lamm highlights the startling statistic that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and unveils the ABA's resolution to organize breast cancer legal advocacy workshops to inform women about issues such as insurance law and employment law and the scope of their rights under federal and state provisions.

The article lists steps to take to safeguard rights of patients.  The list is re-posted below.  For more information, visit the American Bar Association website and download the toolkit pdf.

Ten Steps to Protecting the Legal Rights of Breast Cancer Patients

  1. Read your health insurance policy carefully.
  2. Determine if the treatment prescribed by your physician is covered by your policy.
  3. Find out about the appeals process under your insurance policy.
  4. Consult with an expert who is knowledgeable about health insurance law.
  5. Plead your case in person to your insurance carrier.
  6. Personalize your written case with your insurance company.
  7. Obtain copies of your medical records.
  8. Document everything!
  9. Ask your physician to advocate for your treatment.
  10. Be prepared to fight!

The dash for the cure continues.  And for the individuals facing the disease, the ABA's toolkit can help ensure that there is a parallel effort to protect and ensure their legal rights.

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