Federal law requires health insurance plans to pay for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Still, many states and plans (so-called ERISA plans) are exempt. Here’s a good summary, state by state, with links, to what each state requires, and another link to The Pink Fund, which helps women pay non-medical bills for up to $3,000 total over three months while they are in treatment.
Molly MacDonald founded The Pink Fund, a metro Detroit non-profit, after experiencing severe financial problems during her breast cancer story. It provides up to $3,000 for non-medical bills for women during breast cancer treatment. For details and an application: http://www.pinkfund.org
Patient Advocate Organization: http://www.patientadvocate.org/NURD/index2.php?application=underinsured
With 20 million Americans still uninsured, programs like The Pink Fund, pinkfund.org, and the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program,bcccp.org, available in every state, and which pays for screening mammograms for women ages 40-64 and for Pap smears for a larger group of women, remain so vital. The Pink Fund will pay as much as $3,000 towards non-medical expenses of women currently in treatment. These programs are vital to the groups without insurance detailed here: Hispanics, Southerners, Millennials, and of course, the near-poor.
We tell more about this issue in “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,” with stories about Molly MacDonald, executive director of the Pink Fund, and Alisa Savoretti, founder of My Hope Chest, a Tampa non-profit that finds plastic reconstructive surgeons willing to operate at reduced rates for uninsured and under-insured women.
Alisa Savoretti, founder, My Hope Chest; supplied photo.
#breastcancer #breastreconstruction #womenshealth
Recently, studies have shown that African American women prefer autologous breast reconstruction with their own tissue over implant breast reconstruction. Many, including Cheryl Perkins, a Detroit neonatal nurse, choose double mastectomy over lumpectomy when diagnosed with more aggressive triple-negative breast cancer.
Less is known about other cultures but the reporting we did in the large Arab community in metro Detroit found strong preferences towards lumpectomy, at least as a first choice. “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,” offers a rare look at this issue among Arab women and showcases model programs in Dearborn, MI that encourage screening mammography and navigation help to ensure women have mammograms and followup biopsies, when needed, and that stick with women throughout a cancer diagnosis through treatment. These programs also provide a look at some exceptional translation services at Oakwood Hospital, part of the Beaumont Health System, and ACCESS, where breast cancer survivors Hiam Hamade and Ghada Aziz help women throughout cancer screening and treatment. Because of their work, more women are getting mammograms and are returning for biopsies and other advice.
We will explore the impact of race, culture and money on breast cancer surgery and reconstruction decisions in a panel discussion Sept. 29, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit.
The federal government has issued this guidance about job-related issues associated with cancer treatment. http://www.cancer.net/survivorship/life-after-cancer/cancer-and-workplace-discrimination
The Pink Fund, a metro Detroit non-profit, pays up to $3,000 to women currently in treatment for breast cancer, for non-medical bills such as rent, insurance and utilities. http://www.pinkfund.org
Insurance may highly influence a woman’s access to breast reconstruction and certainly affects her choice of doctors. We look at issues about how money and insurance affect breast cancer surgery choices in “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You.
Even with #health insurance, many Americans spend more than $1,000 for hospital stays, this #Universityof #Michigan study warns. Consumers should look for hidden co-insurance costs. If you are planning #breastcancer or #breastreconstruction surgery, ask your doctor’s office or health plan to tell you if you have any anticipated costs associated with your hospital stay.
Just heard about this nonprofit that profits free household cleaning services for women in chemotherapy. www.cleaningforareason.org
From its site: Cleaning For A Reason is a nonprofit organization that serves the United States and Canada. Our mission is to give the gift of free house cleaning for women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. Our goal is to let these brave and strong women focus on their health and treatment while we focus on, and take away the worry and work of, cleaning their homes– free of charge. We have recruited over 1,200 maid services to donate free housecleaning to women who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Since 2006, our partner maid services have volunteered their time to clean for over 19,500 women – valued at over $5,500,000.
Insurers must cover preventive screening, genetic counseling and genetic testing without cost-sharing, according to new federal requirements. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/12/us/health-insurers-ordered-to-heed-law-on-free-contraception-coverage.html?ref=health&_r=0