Urges Bipartisan Support and Swift Passage, Allowing Women Access to Life-Saving Diagnostic Exams
Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, applauds Senator Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) and Representative Kamia Brown (D-Orlando) for their leadership on vitally important diagnostic breast imaging legislation. SB 1038 and HB 743 would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for medically-necessary diagnostic breast imaging following an abnormal mammogram result or other medically-necessary purposes.
“This legislation is an important step forward for women in Florida,” said Molly Guthrie, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “We see first-hand that women face hundreds to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for needed diagnostic imaging. As a result, many women do not seek care until the cancer has spread – making it deadlier and more expensive to treat. A woman should not have to choose between paying her electric bill or getting a medically-necessary ultrasound. This life-saving legislation will ensure timely access to diagnosis and treatment.”
Millions of women throughout the United States can access free, preventive screening mammography under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, if the results of a mammogram reveal an abnormality, follow-up diagnostic exams (such as an MRI, ultrasound, diagnostic mammogram) are needed to determine if the patient has breast cancer. Those exams can be extremely expensive and require high out-of-pocket costs – all before treatment even begins. An estimated 12 percent of patients who receive annual screening mammograms get called back for diagnostic imaging. In Florida, 20,160 women are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021 and 3,120 will die of the disease this year alone.
“As we all know, early diagnosis and treatment saves lives. I am proof of that. Five years ago, my mammogram revealed a mass that subsequent diagnostic testing determined was breast cancer. I know that I was fortunate to have insurance and the ability to seek out important and necessary medical advice and make vital life-saving decisions alongside my doctors,“ said Senator Berman. “Not only am I a legislator, but also a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and now, a five-year breast cancer survivor. I know firsthand how important early detection truly is. I want to be sure all men and women have this opportunity too. That is why I am proud to sponsor SB 1038 with Komen.”
A Komen-commissioned study found the costs to patients for diagnostic tests range from $234 for a diagnostic mammogram to $1,021 for a breast MRI. Out-of-pocket costs are particularly burdensome to those who have previously been diagnosed with breast cancer, as diagnostic tests are often recommended rather than traditional screening mammography.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to join Senator Berman on this important piece of legislation. Unfortunately, we all know someone who has battled cancer,” said Representative Brown. “This bill will ensure that women are able to obtain test, procedures and follow-up care without the added stress of costs associated with this horrible disease. This legislation will improve the lives of many who battle daily with breast cancer.”