HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro on Monday signed the first bill of his administration, a bipartisan law that will require insurers to cover preventative breast and ovarian cancer screenings for high-risk women at no cost.
The bill, which unanimously passed the Senate and House, requires insurance companies to pay for preventative care such as genetic testing, MRIs, and ultrasounds for women at high risk of breast cancer.
“I am proud that the first bill I have signed as Governor is a bill that passed both chambers unanimously – with Democrats and Republicans coming together to improve access to critically important healthcare and save countless lives in Pennsylvania,” said Governor Shapiro. “This bill is the first of its kind in our country, requiring insurance companies to cover the costs of preventive cancer screenings for women at high risk of breast cancer.”
The changes in coverage will not take effect until next year, but the breast cancer coalition says they will now get to work on making sure all women know about them.
“Pennsylvania is leading the nation in the fight against breast cancer by eliminating out-of-pocket costs associated with BRCA-related genetic testing and counseling for high-risk individuals, as well as supplemental screenings such as breast MRI and ultrasound for women,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward. “My personal experience with breast cancer presented me the opportunity to see where some of the gaps were in the system. With approximately 14,000 new cases of breast cancer per year in Pennsylvania, what this legislature did by getting the Bill to Governor Shapiro for his signature, will have a huge positive effect on women’s health and lives.”
“Breast cancer is a terrible disease with roughly 264,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women and 2,400 cases in men every year. For Black women, the statistics are even more alarming, as it is the number one cause of cancer death for Black women at an alarming rate of 31 percent,” said House Speaker Joanna McClinton. “But there is hope, now as a result of this new law more Pennsylvanians will have access to the screening and genetic counseling that can lead to an early diagnosis and save lives. This is a testament to the good work we can do for our neighbors across the Commonwealth.”