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Letter to the Editor - May 3

May 03, 2011

Insurance requirements for mammograms need to be changed



To the editor:

The containment of health care costs is a national priority.  Unfortunately, many health care professionals only give lip service to reducing the costs of health care. I have great respect for the health care professionals who not only deliver excellent health care but also try to reduce the cost of providing that excellent care. I don’t have quite as much respect for the health care professionals who seldom or never look for ways to reduce the cost of health care.

I would like to address the issue of mammograms for women.  The American Cancer Society’s mammogram guidelines call for yearly mammogram screenings beginning at age 40 for women at average risk of breast cancer. There is nothing complicated about that guideline.

But, in some cases, including Medicare, if a woman wants her insurance company to pay for a mammogram, she has to get a doctor’s order for the mammogram. Many doctors, especially the best doctors, are generally overworked and hard-pressed for time.  Most women are perfectly capable of scheduling mammograms without the unnecessary bother and cost of getting orders from their doctors.

I believe that one tiny step in the war to reduce health care costs could be taken if insurance companies would pay for yearly mammogram screenings beginning at age 40 for women at average risk of breast cancer without the need to get orders from their doctors.

I await a letter to the editor from any health care professional in this area who believes that insurance companies should not adopt this practice.


Daniel Moeller
Rohrersville

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