Illinois mandates health insurers cover advanced mammography
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed a bill mandating all insurance plans within the state, including Medicaid, to provide coverage for 3-D mammography, or breast tomosynthesis.
“Too many Illinois families have been touched, in one way or another, by breast cancer,” Rauner said during the bill signing July 20 in Park Ridge. “I’m proud to sign this legislation because by improving early detection methods and requiring insurance plans to cover this cutting-edge screening tool, Illinois is at the forefront of the fight against breast cancer.”
Through breast tomosynthesis, doctors can gain a much clearer, three-dimensional image, which allows them to see through dense tissue and better detect breast cancer. Images are taken through several X-rays at different angles. This breast cancer screening tool is an innovative procedure that is more effective than low-dose mammography.
“This bipartisan legislation signifies the commitment of the General Assembly to the fight against breast cancer and protecting women's health,” state Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), sponsor of the legislation, said. “The best way to fight cancer is with early detection; I'm proud we're taking this step that will expand women's access to this important diagnostic tool.”
Breast cancer accounts for 29.7 percent of the 796,602 invasive cancer diagnoses made among Illinois women from 1986-2013, making it the leading cancer in women in the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said. Data from the department shows that 9,859 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013; 1,761 women died from the cancer in the same year.
“Early detection of breast cancer is key to survival and this new law offers women more options for detecting breast cancer,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah said. “We encourage women to talk with their health care provider about 3-D mammography to determine what would be best for them.”
IDPH said it is projected that 10,290 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, with that number rising to 10,440 women in 2017.