Everyone deserves access to timely and affordable high-quality breast health care — but not everyone has it. Patient protections already in place continue to be threatened, and many more are still needed. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) implemented many patient protections that work in concert to ensure access to comprehensive insurance for people living with breast cancer and survivors, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions and requirements that plans be comprehensive, include coverage for preventive services without cost-sharing and meet network adequacy standards to ensure access to services. But ten years later, there remain both challenges to the law itself as well as new challenges in accessing care, including with respect to telehealth services, access to Medicare and SSDI for metastatic breast cancer patients and access to Medicaid for all eligible Americans.
Deaths from breast cancer could be decreased if cancer screening rates and access to timely treatment increased among at-risk populations. Without access to early detection programs, many uninsured individuals are forced to delay or forgo screenings, which can lead to disease progression and later-stage breast cancer diagnoses. This delay has consequences. If the cancer spreads beyond the breast, treatment may be up to five times more expensive and significantly less successful.
Ensuring Access Priorities
- Protect access to affordable, high-quality health care for all patients.
- Support federal and state funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) and advocate for policies to modernize state programs to expand eligibility and provide breast cancer screening and diagnostic services for additional populations.
- Support Medicaid expansion and expanded eligibility for Medicaid’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program (BCCTP).
- Advocate to end the waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare for metastatic breast cancer patients.
- Ensure continued access to Medicaid and Medicare without burdensome restrictions or requirements.