Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, H.R. 758 (110)
In brief: A bipartisan bill to amend the Public Health Service Act and Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to require that group and individual health insurance coverage and group health plans provide coverage for a minimum hospital stay for mastectomies and lymph node dissections performed for the treatment of breast cancer
Status and details | Complete history
Incidences of breast cancer are on the rise. According to the National Cancer Institute, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Twenty years ago, the risk was 1 in 11. In 2008 it was estimated that more than a quarter of a million American women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the leading cause of cancer death for women between the ages of 20 and 59.
Today many women are forced to leave the hospital just hours after going through a painful mastectomy, the procedure that treats breast cancer by removing one or more of a woman's breasts. In instances often referred to as "drive-through mastectomies", many health insurance companies are refusing to provide coverage for a minimum stay, hoping to have the surgery administered as an outpatient procedure, despite the wishes of patients and their doctors.
The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act would prohibit insurance providers from restricting benefits for any hospital length of stay to less than 48 hours for a mastectomy and 24 hours for a lymph node dissection. It does not require that the patient be in the hospital for the full 48 hours, only that the hospital stay be covered if deemed necessary by the patient's doctor. It also prohibits the insurance plan from requiring authorization from the doctor prior to the procedure and hospital stay.
The bipartisan bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in September 2008 by a 421-to-2 margin. Due to intense lobbying by members of the insurance industry, the bill did reach the floor for a vote in the U.S. Senate before the end of the 110th Congress. GFWC will be monitoring the status of this very important bill as it moves along in the 111th Congress.
www.BreastCancer.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the global leader in the movement against breast cancer
»Read a Reuters news article about the bill and the fight to pass it.
»Sign the petition in support of this bill, sponsored by Lifetime television.