New law expands mammogram coverage in NY

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A new law is expanding mammogram coverage in New York State.

Advocates of breast cancer prevention say early detection can mean the difference between life and death.

“Catching breast cancer at stage one and two has a dramatically different outcome, can have a dramatically different outcome than detecting it at stage three and four,” Andrea Moran, Susan G. Komen Upstate NY Spokesperson, said.

That’s why Moran says a new law that will require large group insurance policies to cover annual mammograms for 35 to 39 year-olds when deemed “medically necessary” is critical. 

A statement from the Governor’s Press Office Friday says in part, “Currently, many insurance companies are only required to cover annual mammogram screenings for women over the age of 40.”

“There are 12,000 women between the ages of 30 and 40 years old that are diagnosed every year with breast cancer and often times people think of it as a disease that affects really older women. And that’s not always the case,” Moran said.

The New York Department of Health’s website says:

“Women ages 40–49 years old are encouraged to talk to their health care providers about when and how often they should have screening mammograms…”

And, that:

“A woman who has a high risk for breast cancer, as determined by a health care provider, may need to begin screening earlier.”

“It’s our recommendation that a women talk with her doctor there’s a lot of different things – family history that goes into that conversation, certainly genetics, certainly lifestyle is part of that conversation, so having that conversation younger is always a good thing.”

Previous versions of the bill were introduced in the 2017 to 2018 legislative session.

The law is named after New Yorker Shannon Saturno who died from breast cancer at the age of 31.

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