October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
HELENA – In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen reminds Montanans that mammograms and breast cancer genetic testing for higher risk women are covered at no cost to women by all standard insurance policies.
“People see a lot of pink in the month of October,” Lindeen said. “But it’s not enough to just be aware of breast cancer. Montanans need to know that the medical care necessary to detect cancer early is free to them in most cases.”
The Affordable Care Act requires all insurance sold in healthcare.gov – and many other health insurance plans – to cover 100% of a variety of preventative medicine treatments. That means women receiving these services will pay no copayment and will not be asked to pay for a portion of the cost of the procedure. This is true even if the woman has not met her yearly deductible.
Mammograms are covered 100 percent for all women over aged 40 every one to two years. Breast cancer genetic test counseling (BRCA) is covered 100 percent for women with a family history that puts them at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Women who are high risk of developing breast cancer can also get preventative medication to reduce their breast cancer risk. This treatment is called “chemoprevention,” and it is also covered as preventative medicine free to the patient if the woman qualifies.
Lindeen also reminded Montanans who may be dealing with insurance issues surrounding breast cancer treatment – or any problem – that her office can be an effective resource. Every year, approximately 40,000 Montanans call her office with insurance problems. Last year, her office recovered $6.2 million to Montanans in improperly denied insurance benefits owed them.