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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 11, 2018 11:08 AM
From: Senator Bob Mensch
To: All Senate members
Subject: Breast Density Screening Insurance Coverage
In the near future, I will be reintroducing Senate Bill 869 of last session, legislation to provide insurance coverage for breast density screenings.

Dense breast complicates early detection of breast cancer. In fact, women who have extremely dense breast tissue are at a 4-6 times greater risk of developing breast cancer.

Mammogram films of breasts with higher density are harder to read and interpret than those of less dense breasts. Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer, with a mammogram missing at least 40% of tumors in women with the densest breasts. Both cancer and density appear white on a mammogram so detecting tumors is much more difficult in denser breasts without further screening provided by an ultrasound or an MRI.

While about 40 percent of women who get mammograms have dense breast, almost 95% of women are unaware of their own breast density according to a recent poll. Currently insurance companies do not cover these extra screening costs for women with dense breasts. Younger women are more at risk since about 50 percent of woman under 50 years of age have dense breast.

This legislation would amend the Insurance Company Law of 1921 and will extend mandated insurance coverage to ultrasound screening and magnetic resonance imaging if a mammogram demonstrates heterogeneous or dense breast tissue. This standard is based on the Breast Imagining Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology.

Additionally, insurance coverage will also be extended if a woman is believed to be at increased risk for breast cancer due to family history or prior personal history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing or other indications as deemed medically necessary by the woman’s physician.

This legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.

Previous co-sponsors were McGARRIGLE, BAKER, RAFFERTY, VULAKOVICH,

If you have any questions please call Mark Fetzko at 717-787-3110

Introduced as SB595