Many women who get a mastectomy don’t realize that they are eligible to get a breast reconstruction procedure at no cost. These women are simply not told that they are good candidates for breast reconstruction after mastectomy, and that insurance will pay for the procedure. Doctors are now required to inform patients about their options under a new law, A10094B/S6993-B/Information and Access to Breast Reconstruction Surgery.
Many insurers in New York do cover breast reconstruction procedures after a mastectomy, but less educated, poor and minority women are often unaware that they can get this procedure without paying any out of pocket expenses. According to Evan Garfein, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Montefiore Medical Center, “a disproportionate number of women who are at a socioeconomic disadvantage do not get breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy for one of several reasons. Either they are unaware of it as an option, they do not know it is covered by Medicaid and Medicare insurance programs, they do not know where to gain access to the procedures, or it is never mentioned to them by their doctors.”
Dr. Garfein authored a bill that was signed into law to change this trend. He hopes that the new law will ensure that hospitals inform patients that they are eligible to have breast reconstruction procedures with insurance coverage. This may help dozens of women who are being treated for breast cancer have some hope of improving their appearance after mastectomy surgery.
Dr. Garfein notes, “breast reconstruction has been repeatedly shown to improve the quality of life and overall well-being of women who have been treated for breast cancer. This new law will ensure that breast cancer patients from all socioeconomic groups are informed about their options regarding breast reconstruction and about where to get the procedure.”
(Source: Medical News Today)