House Bill 371 (HB371) – known as “The Breast Cancer Bill” – was signed into law Friday by Governor Mike DeWine. The new legislation brings more access to additional breast cancer screenings for all women throughout the state.
“The bill originally passed the Ohio House with zero opposition testimony, and 89 representatives voting in favor and only two against – a rarity for politics, even in Ohio. With bipartisan support, and unanimous support from Ohio’s medical community, HB 371 is a powerful example of what laws can accomplish,” the bill’s joint sponsor and State Representative Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) said.
The new law requires insurance companies to cover additional screenings for women who are at high risk for cancer, or who have dense breast tissue as well as any woman regardless of age or risk factor can receive coverage for a yearly mammogram, meaning women will no longer have to pay out-of-pocket for additional screenings.
The definition for mammography is also expanded under this law to add other more accurate screenings such as 3D mammography – also known as tomosynthesis – which will also increase accessibility for chest MRI and ultrasounds.
New provisions in the legislation empower physicians to determine patient eligibility for additional screening. Patients’ personal or family history, dense breast tissue, ancestry, and genetic predisposition are all factors that can also determine eligibility.
Improvements in the language of patient notification letters informing women of dense breast tissue is also encompassed within this law.
Joint sponsors and State Representatives Denson (D-Cincinnati) and Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) say that they have been diligently working to make this bill law for over a year.
“Over the last year, Representative Denson and I have fought hard for this bill,” Schmidt said. “House Bill 371 gives women a better chance at surviving this cancer.”
According to the CDC, the benefit of screening is finding cancer early, when it’s easier to treat.
State Rep Schmidt told The Ohio Star that she was honored to have worked on bringing the measure to the governor’s desk. Women now have the opportunity to have the most advanced options for screening and the most modern technology available to them, without having to wait until they turn 40 to receive them, she said; adding that the new law will save lives.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mammogram Machine” by U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.