Bill calls for insurance to cover MRIs for N.J. women

By Susan K. Livio/The Star-Ledger -

TRENTON — State-run and state-regulated health insurance plans would have to pay for ultrasound screening for women with a higher risk of breast cancer, under a bill the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved today.

The American College of Radiology recommends women with dense breast tissue - usually because they are under 40 years old or who have not gone through menopause yet - should undergo an ultrasound, according to the bill. Mammograms detect less than half of all abnormalities in women with dense breasts, who are five times more likely to develop cancer.

The legislation also applies to women with a family history of breast cancer.

If signed into law, the bill would apply to about one-third of New Jerseyans who are covered by the State Health Benefits Program and the School Employees' Health Benefits Program, and state administered small business and individual coverage plans, and state regulated plans like Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey.

The bill, (A2022) passed the Senate in June. It now moves to the full Assembly for a final vote.

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