California Reassures Women that Mammogram Laws Not Changed

November 20, 2009

In the wake of new recommendations for mammography, California officials said that a state law remains in place to ensure that insurance covers mammograms for breast cancer screenings beginning at age 35.

“Scientists can and should continue to research the best ways to treat our medical ailments,” Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said in a released statement. “However, regardless of what recent medical panels have said, state law continues to require insurance companies to cover mammograms for women as early as age 35.”

State insurance code currently dictates that women age 35 to 39 are entitled to a baseline mammogram. Women age 40 to 49 can get a mammogram every two years, or more frequently if their physician recommends it, and women 50 and older are to be provided a mammogram every year.

On Nov. 16, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force reversed existing breast cancer screening recommendations and touched off a furious debate among insurance providers, doctors and patients. The Task Force said women should only get mammograms once every two years starting at age 50 instead of every one or two years at age 40, as had been the norm for decades.

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