Crucial health care coverage for breast cancer patients now law
9/17/2019, 8:24 p.m.
Big insurance companies will have to cover diagnostic mammograms under a new law supported by state Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, which combats big insurance companies' efforts to deny patients coverage for critical procedures.
"We want health insurance to make us healthier, not abandon us when we face our most frightening battle, the battle for our survival against conditions like cancer. Big insurance companies are endangering countless women who may not be able to afford critical procedures," Connor said. "Diagnostic mammograms save lives and drastically improve women's' odds in the fight against breast cancer.
Mammograms more than pay for themselves in the cost savings accomplished by early detection. But big insurance doesn't want to pay for them. It is beyond reprehensible that they are willing to endanger so many lives just for the sake of a better bottom line."
Senate Bill 162 will require insurance companies to cover diagnostic mammograms that are typically done to follow up and collect more information after a preventative screening indicated signs of breast cancer. Currently, regularly-scheduled preventative mammograms must be covered, but physician-requested diagnostic mammograms are not, and patients are forced to share the cost of the procedure. This legislation received strong bipartisan support and was recently signed into law.
In 2016, the CDC reported 17.3 million mammograms. In about 12% of cases, women were called back for another, more thorough diagnostic mammogram-which is currently not covered by many health insurance providers. Estimates indicate that doctors regularly requesting a second mammogram has lowered cancer mortality by about 40%.