Kentucky Bills Try To Make Cancer Screenings Less Expensive

Kentucky Bills Try To Make Cancer Screenings Less Expensive

Doctors in Northern Kentucky said the bills could help people who have been unable to get care because of money problems get it.

It has been Michael Gieske’s goal to get the word out about how important screening is. He is the head of lung cancer screening at the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center and the physician advisor for advocacy.

“We all know that cancer is easier to cure and costs a lot less to treat if it’s found early,” he said. “We’re talking about thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to treat early-stage cancer versus hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat late-stage cancer.”

But things like copays, cost-sharing, and out-of-pocket costs have made that goal impossible.

“That makes patients less likely to go,” Gieske said. “It gets in the way. Furthermore, some patients regrettably choose not to get the care they really need because of the added costs.

These two bills from Kentucky could help. They both made it through the senate.

Health benefit plans would have to cover preventive cancer screenings and tests without people having to pay a deductible for them under House Bill 52.

House Bill 115 wants to get rid of copays and cost-sharing requirements for people with a high chance of getting breast cancer who need follow-up diagnostic imaging to rule out the disease.

Terri Bogan, who is in charge of breast health for St. Elizabeth, said she agrees with the plans.

“It’s a real problem that the cost of medical care makes it hard for some people to get the care they need,” she said. “Getting rid of these obstacles so that cancers can be found early is really important, and this resolution does that.”

Gieske said that this year, more than 4,000 people in Kentucky will get breast cancer. Bogan said that too many women don’t come in because they are afraid of it.

Bogan said, “Early-stage breast cancer is not scary because we treat it so well.” “The thing to be fearful of is late-stage breast cancer.”

“The idea that ‘I don’t want to know, and there’s nothing we can do about it anyway’ is no longer true. This needs to be shattered.”

She said that she hopes the financial part of that fear will go away.

She also said that it’s important to get more than one scan for breast cancer screening. She said that comparing one year to the next is the best way to find small changes that could be signs of cancer.

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