With the changes and differing views on how often screening mammography should be performed what you need to know is that mammography screening is no longer a cookie cutter approach, but it’s still affordable and there have been no changes in insurance coverage.
The Coverage: In December, congressional passage of a new bill, the Consolidate Care Act of 2015, ensured women’s coverage for mammography will remain the same through 2017. Women 40 years and older enrolled in most insurance plans will continue to be covered every one to two years without copays, coinsurance or deductibles. Click here for the full story according to the US Department of Health & Human Services.
The Changes: While several professional associations still recommend screening mammography for all women beginning at age 40, the American Cancer Society recently updated their screening recommendations. The new recommendations encourage women to make an informed choice, and are as follows:
- Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they want to and continue to have annual mammography based on their level of comfort. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider at age 40 about when you should begin screening.
- Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45 and should continue annual screening until age 55. But they should have the option to begin annual screening at age 40.
- At age 55 and over, women should have mammograms every other year – though women do still have the option to continue annual mammograms should they wish.
- Screening mammograms should continue for as long as a woman is in good health.