Buddy Check: Bill aims to eliminate financial worries from best care

Buddy Check 7
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 3:23 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - In Wisconsin, nearly half of all women have dense breast tissues. Having dense breast tissue can make finding a dangerous tumor more difficult. New legislation by the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition wants to eliminate the financial risk when it comes to getting the right kind of screening.

Dense breast tissue is a measure of how much breast tissue is on your mammogram versus fat. On a mammogram, fat is gray in color while tissue and cancer show up as white.

Dr. Gillian Battino a radiologist with Marshfield Clinic explained, “breast cancer and other signs of breast cancer are also white on mammography so the more density you have the more difficulty it is to see the breast cancer especially if it’s small or early.”

Dense breast tissue is found in more than 40% of women older than 40. It’s also found in younger women.

For women who have dense breast tissue a lot of those women tend to be younger. So that’s something to keep in mind. We are dealing with younger women who have a longer life ahead of them we want to make sure we catch their cancer as early as possible,” said Dr. Battino.

Not only does dense breast tissue also makes it harder for radiologists to see cancer on mammograms, but it also puts women at a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women with less dense breast tissue.

In 2017, Wisconsin passed legislation that required health care facilities to notify a woman, after her mammogram, if she had dense breast tissue.

Currently, federal law requires mammogram screening must be covered by your health care plan. However, insurers may not cover these additional screenings like MRI or ultrasound. According to the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition that could leave some women to decide whether they can afford the cost of those potentially lifesaving screenings.

Wisconsin Senate Bill 413 and Assembly Bill 416 will require health care plans to cover those screenings with a maximum out-of-pocket cost of $50 if your doctor tells you that you have dense breast tissue.

Currently, the bill is stalled in the legislature. The bill has had a hearing in the Senate Health Committee, but it has not been voted on yet. It also has not been given a hearing in the Assembly Health Committee yet.

According to the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition, if the bills are not resolved in the March session the bills will die.

To learn more about Wisconsin Senate Bill 413 and Assembly Bill 416 click here.

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