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Newly Announced Rules Expand Access to Mammography and Other Early Detection Services at No Cost to Patients
Breast Cancer Advocates Applaud Inclusion of Women Age 40 to 49
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2010) – Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Advocacy Alliance today applauded new federal rules that will expand access to potentially life-saving care for millions of Americans.
“Today’s announcement is a critical step in ensuring the promise of health reform is delivered to all women,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “This new rule means money will no longer be an obstacle for women who want or need a mammogram. Ultimately, this will save lives.”
The new interim regulations were issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of its implementation of the new health reform law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The regulations will require private health insurers to cover preventive and early detection services, including annual screening mammography for women age 40 and older, with no cost sharing or co-pays in health plans issued after September 23, 2010.
The rules will also apply to all plans offered through state-based health insurance exchanges when they become operational in 2014. Plans established prior to September 23, 2010 are not subject to the new regulations.Extending this protection to women age 40 and older was particularly welcomed by the Komen Advocacy Alliance.
“By requiring health insurers to offer no-cost access to mammography for women age 40 to 49, HHS has relieved concerns women have had since the United States Preventive Services Task Force issued its controversial guidelines last fall,” said Jennifer M. Luray, President of the Komen Advocacy Alliance.
“We are grateful to Senators Barbara Mikulski (R-MD) and David Vitter (R-LA) for their roles in ensuring all women 40 and above have this access, in accordance with Komen’s long-held recommendations.”
Komen notes that early detection is a key to surviving breast cancer. While more than 200,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and almost 40,000 will die, 98 percent of breast cancer patients will survive at least five years if the cancer is discovered before it has spread beyond the breast compared to only 23 percent when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
While applauding today’s announcement, the Komen Advocacy Alliance also cautioned that government must maintain the safety net screening services funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states and non-profits until all women have access to these new cancer screening benefits and we are assured women know how and when to access them.