Now Law: Bill To Require Health Insurance Providers To Cover The Use Of 3-D Mammography For Breast Cancer Screening

Assembly Majority Office - 1/17/2018

The law (A-4320) requires health insurers and health maintenance organizations, as well as health benefits plans or contracts, which are issued or purchased pursuant to the New Jersey Individual Health Coverage Program, New Jersey Small Employer Health Benefits Program, State Health Benefits Program, and School Employees' Health Benefits Program, to provide coverage for expenses incurred in conducting digital tomosynthesis to detect or screen for breast cancer in women 40 years of age and over; and for diagnostic purposes in women of any age.

"The chances of surviving advanced breast cancer are bleak. What good are these technological advances if they are not made available to the people who can benefit from them the most?"asked Mukherji (D-Hudson). "If there is a better screening test than can help with early breast cancer detection and survival rates, then it should be covered by health insurance providers."

 

Digital tomosynthesis, also sometimes called 3-D mammography, creates a three-dimensional picture of the breast using x-rays. Several low-dose images from different angles around the breast are used to create the final 3-D picture. Conventional mammography produces one image of overlapping tissue, while tomosynthesis provides multiple pictures of breast tissue as the scanner moves in an arc. The difference between the images produced by tomosynthesis and conventional mammography has been described as being akin to a three dimensional ball versus a flat circle.