JUNEAU – A new bill from Representative Zack Fields aims to improve health-care access and outcomes by eliminating cost-sharing for diagnostic breast exams.
House Bill 285 eliminates the patient’s out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic and supplemental breast imaging, including MRIs and ultrasounds. While screening mammograms are already fully covered under applicable plans, it is estimated that 12% of individuals who undergo annual screenings need additional diagnostic imaging.
Cost is the primary reason women skip supplemental screening and diagnostic testing following their initial screening mammogram. HB 285 requires commercial insurance companies to eliminate patient costs for follow-up diagnostic breast exams, which can range from hundreds-to-thousands of dollars.
“Alaskans who can afford diagnostic imaging are more likely to survive a breast cancer diagnosis,” said Rep. Zack Fields (D-Downtown Anchorage). “My bill will level the playing field for all Alaskans and make diagnostic imaging affordable for all, saving lives in the process.”
HB 285 is awaiting its first hearing in the House Health and Social Services Committee.
Follow the bill’s progress here, or by texting “HB 285” to 559-245-2529.