Susan G. Komen, an organization that addresses breast cancer, is supporting legislation that would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic breast imaging after an abnormal mammogram result or other medically necessary purposes.

Reps. Patty Acomb (DFL-Minnetonka), Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina) and Cheryl Youakim (DFL-Hopkins) are helping to lead the effort.

“This legislation is an important step forward for women in Minnesota,” said Molly Guthrie, senior director of public policy and advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “We see first-hand that women face hundreds to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for needed diagnostic imaging. As a result, many women do not seek care until the cancer has spread – making it deadlier and more expensive to treat. A woman should not have to choose between paying her electric bill or getting a medically-necessary ultrasound. This life-saving legislation will ensure timely access to diagnosis and treatment.”

Women throughout the United States can access free, preventive screening mammography under the Affordable Care Act. However, if the results of a mammogram reveal an abnormality, follow-up diagnostic exams, such as an MRI, ultrasound and diagnostic mammogram, are needed to determine if the patient has breast cancer. Those exams can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs before treatment begins. An estimated 12% of patients who receive annual screening mammograms are called back for diagnostic imaging, according to the organization. In Minnesota, it estimates that 4,850 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021, and an estimated 640 will die of the disease this year.

A Komen-commissioned study found the costs to patients for diagnostic tests range from $234 for a diagnostic mammogram to $1,021 for an MRI.

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