Senate votes to cover cost of supplemental breast cancer screenings

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Senate approved legislation Wednesday that would require insurers to cover supplemental screenings for women at high risk for breast cancer.

Senate Bill 595 would extend mandated insurance coverage to ultrasound screening and magnetic resonance imaging if a mammogram demonstrates extremely dense breast tissue.

Coverage would also be extended if a woman is believed to be at increased risk for breast cancer due to family history or personal history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing, or other indications.

Insurance companies currently do not cover extra screening costs for women who are at an increased risk. The additional tests can cost more than $1,000.

State Sen. Bob Mensch, the bill’s prime sponsor, said cancer and density both appear white on a mammogram, so detecting tumors is much more difficult in denser breasts without further screening provided by ultrasound or an MRI.

He said women who have extremely dense breast tissue are four to six times more likely to develop breast cancer.

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