Minnesota bill would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for additional breast cancer screenings

[WCCO-TV News, March 10, 2023] A bill that is advancing in the Minnesota Legislature would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for advanced breast cancer screenings following a mammogram, in a move supporters say will expand access to preventative care that can save lives.

The proposal says that if a doctor determines a patient needs additional testing—like an MRI or ultrasound—health insurance plans must cover the services with no co-pays or deductibles, which can be cost-prohibitive.A mammogram might not be enough to detect cancer for everyone, said Dr. David Aamodt, director of breast imaging at Allina Health Cancer Institute, especially if someone has dense breasts—40% of patients do. That can make the mammograms harder to read, obstructing potential abnormalities that might raise red flags.

"Breast density adds an extra layer, which impedes the x-rays from going through the breast tissue and finding an area we're concerned about," said Aamodt. "For a lot of women, a mammogram will be sufficient. But for some women we've seen that adding an extra screening modality like MRI or ultrasound can really increase the number of cancers we find and find them at a much earlier stage, which will lead to much better treatment outcomes."

Posted on March 11, 2023 in breast cancerPiper Breast Centercancer

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