SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, is shining a light on a new law aiming to expand coverage for mammogram exams.
“It is common knowledge that early detection is critical when it comes to diagnosing and treating breast cancer,” said LaPointe. “The earlier the cancer is detected, the greater the survival rate. Expanding access to preventative care is and always will be the right thing to do.”
LaPointe is highlighting a new law, Senate Bill 162, which will expand financial coverage for mammogram exams. Under the Affordable Care Act, all marketplace plans must cover preventative services for women without charging a copay. Prior to this new law taking effect, mammogram screenings were considered preventative and were covered expenses, but diagnostic screenings were not covered.. As a result, a woman who may be able to access a routine mammogram exam with little to no charge could find herself not being able to cover any of the financial costs of a second mammogram exam should her primary physician order one to follow up on the initial screening. As a result, this does tremendous harm to women who may inevitably need additional screenings or may not have the financial resources to afford life-saving medical treatment.
“Insurance companies know they can prey on patients’ vulnerabilities and desperation by intentionally blurring the lines when it comes to classifying different medical exams and treatments,” said LaPointe. “When it comes to women’s health, being able to access potentially life-saving care should not be decided by actuaries tasked with putting a price on a human life. It should be a given for women to afford any kind of medical exam that could mean the difference between life and death.”
LaPointe represents the 19th District, which covers portions of Chicago’s Big Oaks, Dunning, Gladstone Park, Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Union Ridge and West Portage Park neighborhoods, and River Grove, Elmwood Park, Norridge and Harwood Heights.