Assemblymember Cahill Applauds New Law Protecting New Yorkers’ Access To Medically Necessary Breast Cancer Screening Technology

November 30, 2017

Albany NY – Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston), Chair of the Assembly’s Insurance Committee, announced today that a bill, A.5677 (Seawright), has been signed into law. The measure clarifies that tomosynthesis must be covered without cost-sharing when found medically necessary by a patient’s provider. Tomosynthesis is a process that uses X-rays to collect multiple images of the breast from several angles which are then synthesized to form a 3-D view of the tissue.

In 2016, New York State made the fight against breast cancer a priority. An important step is barring cost-sharing for diagnostic imaging to detect breast cancer. Covered processes are mammograms, breast ultrasounds or magnetic resonance imaging. This measure states that tomosynthesis is also a process that was intended to be captured by the 2016 law.

“Today we made early detection of breast cancer more possible for millions of New Yorkers. This action assures that insurance coverage for tomosynthesis, a proven diagnostic technique, will now be protected by the law. Up to now, insurance coverage was not clear; many carriers refused coverage for this lifesaving test. Confusion persisted even after the New York State Department of Financial Services put out guidance declaring it a covered procedure. Now, thanks to the good work of Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright and the patient advocates she worked so closely with, access to the test will be available in all appropriate circumstances. It is this kind of advocacy for which the State Assembly stands,” stated Assemblymember Cahill.

When asked about the positive action, Assemblymember Seawright, (D- Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island) stated, “It is important to continue to expand access to breast cancer screenings and New York State is a leader in this movement. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in New York State. Each year in New York, over 15,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. This bill clarifies that insurers would cover 3-D mammograms without co-pays or deductibles. Early detection is critical. At the time when the federal climate is stripping women’s health coverage, the local government must act, and we did.”

This bill was part of a package signed into law and marshaled by Assemblymember Cahill.