Insurance Companies Could Be Required to Cover Additional Breast Cancer Screenings for Women With Dense Breast Tissue

By Christina Lorey

October 14, 2022

The new bills would impact an estimated 50% of Wisconsin women, whose breast tissue is white– just like possible tumors.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which makes it a great time to schedule your annual mammogram if you’re a woman age 40 & up. And here in Wisconsin, lifesaving screening could soon get even cheaper thanks to proposed legislation!

What It Is

A pair of bills are expected to help women with dense breast tissue get better insurance coverage for breast cancer screenings.

Wisconsin Assembly Bill 416 and Senate Bill 413 would require health insurance companies to cover an additional breast screening beyond a routine mammogram for women with dense tissue.

Why It Matters

Dense breast tissue appears white on mammograms. So do tumors. That means tumors, in women with dense breasts, often hide in plain sight.

MORE: What Does It Mean to Have Dense Breasts?

Women with dense breasts need an additional ultrasound to determine whether or not they have cancer, and that can cost an additional $150-$500. If an MRI is needed, too, that can cost thousands. If these bills are passed, insurers would legally have to cover everything besides a maximum $50 co-pay.

Insurance Companies Could Be Required to Cover Additional Breast Cancer Screenings for Women With Dense Breast Tissue
“Normal” tissue compared to “dense” tissue, Courtesy CDC

What’s Next?

The bill was initially scheduled for review this year, but was pushed to January 2023 because the assembly’s session ended months early (but that’s a story for another day…)

What You Can Do

Dense breast tissue is incredibly common. Fifty percent of women have it. If these bills could help you or someone you love, let your legislators know and ask them to support it during the next session.

Click here to find out who your legislators are and how to reach them.

Author

  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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