Some Breast Cancer Screenings Free For Women Insured Through The State
News 6 - November 3, 2022 6:19 am
TULSA, Okla. –
Oklahomans with health insurance through the state can now get a breast scan at no charge.
The new law went into effect Tuesday and Susan G. Komen said these tests can cost a lot of money but can be critical in determining whether a patient needs a biopsy.
Edie Tolbert said getting a mammogram saved her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 14 years ago. But sometimes, a mammogram is just the beginning, and this new law covers the images are that are often needed next.
“Saved my life. Saved my life,” said Edie Tolbert, Founder of the Stonebrook Project. Edie has been cancer free for 14 years.
“The way that they found my cancer was through a mammogram,” said Tolber. “I still did a single mastectomy.”
Edie is thrilled with the new law.
State Representative Melissa Provenzano said she pushed for it after being contacted by a woman in need last summer.
“She said, ‘So I just had my screening mammogram and they found something and now my doctors ordered this diagnostic mammogram. I’m gonna be out of pocket by about $1000. Can you help? I’m like that’s crazy. She’s like well I can’t do it. And I’m like you can’t not do it,” said Melissa Provenzano, State House Rep.
“I’ve had women that have had to choose between, single moms, that have had to choose between putting food on their table and going for the 3D mammogram,” said Tolbert.
Oklahoma’s new Diagnostic Imaging Legislation means the state health insurance plans will now cover 100 percent of the cost of those next step mammograms.
“No out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic mammograms. Now Medicare already covers it and sooner care says if it’s medically necessary they’ll cover it as well,” said State Rep. Melissa Provenzano. “We’re actually the tenth state to make it mandatory for insurance companies.”
She also believes this law will save lives.
“We’ve even had some women reach out and say my insurance company sent me a refund check,” said Provenzano.
Tolbert said she’s thankful her cancer was caught early, and she was able to be there for her kids and live a full life and to pay it back. She founded a nonprofit called The Stonebrook Project and they provide Oncology Massage Therapy for people with cancer.
Susan G. Komen sent us the following statement:
“We thank lawmakers in Oklahoma and Governor Stitt for eliminating barriers to care so that people with state-regulated health plans can now receive medically necessary diagnostic imaging without any out-of-pocket expenses. These tests are critical in determining if there is a need for a biopsy but can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars,” said Molly Guthrie, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “Thousands of women every year require diagnostic breast imaging, but many forego them because of the cost. Not anymore. This life-saving legislation means women can now receive the breast imaging they require, leading to earlier diagnosis and often better outcomes.”
“Susan G. Komen will continue to advocate for legislation that ensures fair and equitable access to high-quality breast care for all, no matter their age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, cancer stage or socio-economic status,” added Guthrie.