House passes bill increasing access to mammography

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(Host) The Vermont House has given its approval to legislation that’s designed to increase access to mammograms for women over 40.

The bill mandates that all health insurance companies provide mammography benefits in their policies, and that the cost to consumers not exceed $25.

Backers of the bill argued that the measure is needed because a number of women in Vermont have health care policies with very high deductibles, and as a result, they’re reluctant to schedule mammograms because they have to pay the full cost of the procedure.

Richmond Representative Denise Barnard urged House members to support the bill:

(Barnard) "Each year in Vermont about 475 women are diagnosed a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is one in eight. Still each year in Vermont about 97 women die from breast cancer. Mammography combined with a clinical breast exam is still the most effective means of early detection."

(Host) Backers of the bill said they considered adding a colonoscopy mandate to the legislation. But they decided not to because of the additional costs that would have to be absorbed by health insurance companies.

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