Portantino introduces bill to expand health care coverage for follow-up mammograms – Pasadena Now

Sen. Anthony J. Portantino (D – Pasadena) introduced SB 974 on Wednesday, a measure that would expand health care coverage for diagnostic imaging of the breast following an abnormal mammogram.

“SB 974 recognizes the importance of follow-up diagnostic testing for breast cancer screenings,” Portantino said. “Health insurance coverages do not extend to these crucial, life-saving follow-up diagnoses. Unfortunately, they only cover the initial screening mammogram. The delay and absence of life-saving treatments can have a significant impact on women’s health outcomes.

Health insurance coverage extends to mammography screening, which detects 80-90% of breast cancers in women who have not yet shown physical symptoms. Women who receive abnormal results during a breast cancer screening may be asked for follow-up tests to make sure the abnormality is not cancerous, and they often have to pay out of pocket for the tests. feedback. It can cost thousands of dollars and cause many women to delay or avoid these appointments and therefore delay life-saving treatment.

SB 974 would require that a health insurance policy, which is issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2023, provide coverage for medically necessary diagnostic imaging of the breast, including diagnostic imaging of the breast following a abnormal mammogram result. Diagnostic breast imaging includes breast magnetic resonance imaging and breast ultrasound.

“When I found out I needed additional imaging after my preventative mammogram visit, I was so scared. I quickly booked my ultrasound, but was shocked when I received a bill from my insurance company and being told that the ultrasound was not considered part of a preventative visit.I did some research and realized that in the law on affordable care, this additional imaging was not listed and states had to add their own legislation,” said Gayaneh Pezeshkian Avanes, who lives in Portantino District. “That’s when I contacted Senator Portantino and I am so grateful that he introduced the SB 974 so quickly! I really cried when I found out. I can’t imagine how many women don’t get further tests because of the associated costs. I hope this will have an impact and that women will receive their preventive examinations without having to worry about how to pay for them. »

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women of all races. The prevalence of breast cancer screening and follow-up testing over the past 20 years has dramatically improved early detection of breast cancer and subsequent survival rates.

Early detection of breast cancer can reduce the risk of dying from the disease by 25-30%. Screening is done by mammography and is the most effective method of detecting breast changes that may be cancerous. This detection can occur long before physical symptoms, detectable masses or abnormalities are felt.

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