Oklahoma Representatives Provenzano and Stanley secure legislative approval for diagnostic mammogram insurance mandate
OKLAHOMA CITY – The full Senate approved a measure on Wednesday requiring insurance companies to cover diagnostic mammograms.
House Bill 3504 principal authors, Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City, and Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, said this coverage would save lives.
If a routine mammogram indicates an area of concern, or if a patient discovers a lump during a self-exam, a diagnostic mammogram, which is a more specific imaging process, is the next step. Stanley said the problem is, not all insurance companies cover diagnostic mammograms, and some women cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs. Without that diagnostic mammogram, they may ignore a potential cancer until it reaches a more advanced state.
“We know for a fact that early detection saves lives. Only 16 percent of women undergoing mammograms are directed to undergo a diagnostic follow-up exam, but that information can literally mean the difference between life and death,” Stanley said. “Furthermore, the more advanced a cancer is, the more invasive and expensive the treatment, so this will actually save money in the long run.”
The lawmakers said Texas and Arkansas have already passed similar legislation.
“We are so pleased to have the overwhelming support of the House and the Senate in the effort to fully cover diagnostic mammograms. Early detection is the key to saving lives, and this legislation removes a barrier to that,” Provenzano said. “I am hopeful that this legislation continues to find success and ultimately it’s way to the governor’s desk. Women’s health outcomes in our state will immediately and directly benefit.”
HB 3504 is supported by the Oklahoma Hospital Association, as well as the Oklahoma Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The measure cleared the House 86-0, then moved through the Senate in amended form last week, on a vote of 38-4. Presently, the measure is pending further review.
Note: Pat McGuigan, publisher and editor of CapitolBeatOK.com, contributed to this report.