Bill to ban cost-sharing fees on cancer screenings clears panel

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
A bill aimed to ban cost-sharing for preventive cancer screenings in certain types of health-insurance plans passed unanimously out of a House committee and awaits a vote in the full chamber.
Asked why the bill was important, its sponsor, Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon, said cost is often a barrier for people when it comes to preventive screenings, especially if they don’t have any symptoms.
“I think the cost is a barrier for people,” said Frazier Gordon, R-Richmond. “You know, a lot of health-care plans have $1,000, $2,000 deductibles. And so when you’re asking asymptomatic people to go get screening for a condition that they might not have,  I think . . . a fear of that cost is a factor” in deciding to do it or not.
House Bill 52 says cancer screenings, test or procedures performed for the purpose of detecting cancer “shall not be subject to . . .  any deductible, coinsurance, co-payment or other cost-sharing requirement.”
The House Health Services Committee approved the bill 16-0 on Feb. 8. The bill has had two of its three required readings and is in the House Rules Committee.
Frazier Gordon said the bill would only impact certain insurance plans. The bill’s summary says it will “require limited health service benefit plans, Medicaid, self-insured employer group plans provided by the governing board of a state post-secondary education institution and the state employee health plan to comply with the cancer coverage requirement.”
The state Department of Insurance financial-impact statement for the bill says it is “not expected to materially increase premiums,” nor is it expected to increase administrative costs. Further, it notes there is a potential for long-term savings due to early detection of cancer.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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