WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Tom Cole (R-OK), and Colin Allred (D-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation to make breast cancer diagnostic tests more affordable and accessible to women by eliminating copays and additional out-of-pocket expenses. Introduced during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Access to Breast Cancer Diagnostics Act of 2021 requires insurance companies to cover breast cancer diagnostic testing the same way screenings are covered.
“Key in the fight against breast cancer is timely diagnostic testing, which greatly increases a patient’s chance of beating this devastating disease,” said Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to join my bipartisan colleagues in introducing this legislation so that we can eliminate undue financial obstacles associated with diagnostic exams and increase access to the medical care that patients need.”
“Cost should never stand in the way of a women getting the diagnostic tests she needs, and we know that early diagnosis saves lives,” said Dingell. “One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and this bipartisan legislation is critical to improving access to early treatment and care.”
“I know from personal experience how vital early detection is to surviving breast cancer. It helped save my life. And cost should never be a barrier to why women delay their screenings,” said Wasserman Schultz. “I am eager to collaborate with my colleagues on this important, bipartisan legislation, which will eliminate copays and additional out-of-pocket expenses that act as a barrier to critical breast cancer diagnostic testing. We cannot limit access to and allow delays in essential services, like screenings and preventive care, because of our financial status.”
“Women should not have to worry about the out-of-pocket costs of breast cancer diagnostic testing or delay a breast cancer diagnosis,” said Cole. “Indeed, early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer is critical to survival. For this reason, I am proud to join my colleagues in re-introducing this bipartisan and commonsense legislation that requires health insurers to cover breast cancer diagnostic testing for the same costs as their initial screening.”
“My mother is a breast cancer survivor so I know first-hand what families face, and no one facing breast cancer should be denied access to diagnostic services,” said Allred. “Our bipartisan bill closes a gap in coverage and takes a step toward helping women get the health care they need.”
Under current law, insurance companies are required to cover breast cancer screenings, but not diagnostic testing. If a breast cancer screening indicates that a woman may have breast cancer, a diagnostic test such as an MRI or ultrasound is required to determine whether cancer is present. The disparity in coverage between breast cancer screenings and diagnostic testing can result in additional out-of-pocket costs and creates a significant barrier to care for patients.
Text of the legislation can be found here.