State Sen. Marc Panepinto made the following comments regarding his health insurance legislation (S.3510), which currently awaits review in the Senate insurance committee:
"As a member of the Senate insurance committee, I am proud to have introduced legislation that will guarantee breast cancer follow-up health coverage for millions of women across our state.
"In 2012, the state did the right thing in mandating doctors to recommend follow-up screenings in cases of positive tests for dense breast tissue. However, due to gaps in health care coverage, this lifesaving law did not go far enough in accomplishing its ultimate goal of strengthening early detection of breast cancer. My bill will close this insurance loophole, undeniably save lives, and shield families across this state from having to choose between paying for a costly follow-up or protecting the ones they love."
S.3510 is designed to accomplish the following:
•Strengthen early detection of breast cancer by closing a loophole in the 2012 law
•Increase the number of individuals covered by health insurance for follow-up ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures to detect breast cancer
•Prevent the costly surprise of discovering follow-up visits for digital mammograms or ultrasound procedures are not covered by one's health insurance
Studies have shown that, for women with dense breast tissue, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging are more accurate tests for detecting breast cancers than a mammogram. Ultrasound and MRI technology can find breast cancers that cannot be seen on a mammogram.
Panepinto said an ambiguous mammogram would result in the recommendation of a further evaluation using ultrasound and MRI by one's doctor. The issue with such further evaluation, which is necessary to detect cancer, he said, is that it is often not covered by one's insurance.
Panepinto represents the 60th Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Buffalo as well as communities in both the north and the south towns of Western New York.