Healthcare

Study: 17M could lose mammogram coverage

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As many as 17 million women under age 50 may no longer be covered for mammograms under potential new guidance from a federal advisory panel, according to a new study.

The Department of Health and Human Services is considering new guidance from an independent panel of medical experts that advises against regular mammograms for younger women if they are not at acute risk of the disease.

If that guidance is adopted, insurance companies will no longer have to cover biennial mammograms for women under age 50.

{mosads}A change in coverage would impact at least 17 million women between ages 40 to 49, according to an analysis by Avalere Health. A majority of those women are covered by employer plans, with about 1.2 million covered through ObamaCare exchanges and 1.1 million by Medicaid expansion.

The backlash toward the draft recommendation has been fierce. The debate has pitted groups like the American Cancer Society against Breast Cancer Action, which penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday entitled, “Stop routine breast cancer screenings.

Similar guidance was also issued in 2009, which received similarly strong opposition and was essentially shelved.

The rule also drew criticism on Wednesday from Chris Jacobs, the policy director at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s think tank America Next.

He argued that the advisory panel’s previous guidance had no impact, though ObamaCare has since given it the power to tell insurance companies which services to cover. 

“Obamacare moved that debate from the clinical realm into the policy world by giving the task force jurisdiction over which preventive services insurers must cover,” he wrote in a blog for the Wall Street Journal.

Tags HHS Mammography
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