Jan Kritzman’s mother and aunt had breast cancer. All of her great aunts died of breast cancer. “That was in the ‘50s and ‘60s, when no one talked about it. They’d say ‘shhh, the big C,’ but they wouldn’t say C, they’d make it with their hands,” Kritzman said.
That ultrasound found cancer and the early detection saved her life.
Ten years later, Kritzman, of
SB358, introduced by state Rep.
“The earliest possible detection is only achieved if there are no financial barriers,” Kritzman said.
“I see patients daily who present with breast symptoms requiring a diagnostic work up. The majority of these patients will receive bills for charges not covered by insurance. It seems only just that all patients, whether asymptomatic or symptomatic, should be entitled to appropriate breast care and imaging, in order to exclude breast cancer,” Gershon wrote. “It is sad to think that there are women delaying care, as they do not wish to pay for diagnostic testing.”
Breast cancer survivor
According to the
In 2019, the state mandated coverage for ultrasounds recommended by doctors to back up routine annual mammogram screenings. Most women start getting annual mammograms after age 40. Kritzman’s enthusiastic activism also contributed to the passage of that bill.
The new legislation extends the coverage to diagnostic procedures, for people of any age who find a lump or have reason to believe — from family history, medical history or doctor’s analysis — that they are predisposed to breast cancer.
The bill also mandates coverage for MRIs, biopsies, prophylactic (preventative) mastectomies and breast reconstruction surgery, as well as routine ovarian cancer screenings. It passed the
“Connecticut was the first state in the country to require that people with dense breasts be told that they have dense breasts after a mammogram, so they know they might want to get an ultrasound, too. But
“But we knew we needed to revisit the issue and come back because there was a gap in the diagnostic area,” she said. “Insurance companies were not recognizing that diagnostic needed to be covered as well.”
“I was told the mammogram was not enough. The doctor said, I’ll send you for an ultrasound,” DeGraw said. “That was all well and good, but it wasn’t covered.”
She fought the insurance company and lost. She had to pay about
“It just adds insult to injury to say, you’ve got to go in for more tests and by the way, the test is incredibly expensive,” she said.
The testing determined that DeGraw’s lump was not cancer.
Years later, while on the campaign trail, she heard women tell similar stories. “One woman told me she was charged per breast,
As Kritzman said “when you have dense breasts, your mammogram looks like a snowstorm. And you’re looking for one snowflake.”
According to the website of Are You Dense?, a
Borer ensured that the bill uses gender-neutral language. “Men get breast cancer, too,” she said.
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