The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Wednesday unanimously passed Senate Bill 595, which was introduced by state Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24).
Originally introduced in the fall of 2011, Senate Bill 595 will now go to the governor for his signature. Senate Bill 595 would require insurance coverage for MRI’s and Ultrasounds for women with dense breast tissue.
“There’s probably no bill I’ve been involved in that has more of a personal meaning to me,” said Mensch, “and I’m delighted we’ve been able to get the bill this far.”
Senate Bill 595 passed the Senate unanimously in January and has been the culmination of almost a decade of work.
“When I first introduced the bill in 2011, I never thought I would still be working on it all these years later,” Mensch said. “While the bill has morphed and changed over the past years, I’m confident the version we have now will help countless women in Pennsylvania.”
The bill stipulates that insurers must provide coverage in their plans for MRIs and Ultrasounds to screen for breast cancer in women with high breast density.
Senate Bill 595 covers breast cancer screenings for women with the following criteria:
•High-risk factors for breast cancer, such as personal history, family history or a genetic predisposition;
•Extremely dense breast tissue;
•Heterogeneously dense breast tissue with one other high-risk factor for breast cancer.
“Every woman deserves the best breast cancer screening that is available and Senate Bill 595 is a significant step toward recognizing breast density as an increased risk factor,” said Mensch. “I am confident that this legislation will make a difference in the lives of many affected by this terrible disease. We couldn’t have gotten this far without a lot of hard work and dedication, and certainly not without the help and advocacy of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, who have been helpful and involved since the very beginning.”
“Thank you to our Senate Bill 595 champion, Senator Bob Mensch, and to all of our state senators and representatives for recognizing the urgent need for insurance coverage of MRIs and ultrasounds – potentially life-saving breast cancer screenings,” said Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy.
“We are so very grateful to Governor Wolf for making Pennsylvania the first state in the nation to offer free 3D screening mammograms at no cost to Pennsylvania women. Now, we are asking the governor to take the next step by providing affordable access to early detection for breast cancer by signing Senate Bill 595 into law. Early detection saves lives.”