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Statement on the Kansas State Employees Health Care Commission’s Decision to Increase Access to Breast Imaging

Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today issued the following statement on recent action taken by the Kansas State Employees Health Care Commission (HCC). Earlier this month, the HCC voted unanimously to eliminate the out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic and supplemental imaging for Kansas state employees with an effective date of January 1, 2024.

These efforts began during the legislative session with the introduction of HB 2689, introduced by Representative Linda Featherston (D-Overland Park) and Representative Laura Williams (R-Lenexa), which would have eliminated the patient out-of-pocket costs for medically necessary diagnostic and supplemental breast imaging including MRIs, ultrasounds, and diagnostic mammograms. Due to inaction by the legislature, and with the support of Kansas Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt and Governor Laura Kelly’s office, the HCC made the decision to include these vital benefits for state employees.

“We commend the Health Care Commission for taking this vital step to eliminate the financial barrier to receiving medically necessary diagnostic and supplemental imaging for state employees. We look forward to reintroducing legislation next session to expand access to these vital services,” said Molly Guthrie, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen.

“I am excited that the Health Care Commission has prioritized women’s health by expanding access to diagnostic imaging. This is a big step forwards to getting this benefit for all Kansans, and I look forward to introducing another bill before the 2024 legislative session begins,” said Rep. Featherston. “I can only hope that leadership will allow said bill to get a hearing after many years of being denied.” 

In Kansas, more than 2,600 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 370 are expected to die of the disease in 2024 alone. The exorbitant out-of-pocket costs associated with essential breast imaging procedures ranging from hundreds-to-thousands of dollars, often force individuals into the difficult decision of skipping these tests or making significant financial sacrifices.  

“Advocating for affordable access to breast imaging hasn’t stopped after the 2024 legislative session has ended. I am thankful to many coalition partners, who have linked arms across the aisle to see this issue through and for the Health Care Commission for their swift action for retroactive coverage,” said Rep. Williams. “Today is a victory for eliminating financial barriers and promoting easier access to early cancer detection.”

Learn more about the legislation here.