Medicaid to cover breast cancer patients

January 1, 2002
Pharmaceutical Representative

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has approved 13 states' new requests to extend Medicaid benefits to uninsured women who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through a federal screening program.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has approved 13 states' new requests to extend Medicaid benefits to uninsured women who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through a federal screening program.

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Hawaii, Nebraska, Maine, Michigan, Vermont and Wyoming are the most recent states to take advantage of the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000, which allowed states to expand Medicaid coverage to these women, who otherwise would not have health coverage. In the year since the law's enactment, Health and Human Services has approved this expanded Medicaid eligibility in 32 states.

"These expansions offer help, hope and healthcare to women who otherwise would receive only a diagnosis that may sound like a death sentence," Thompson said. "With these approvals, women who had no health coverage can now get immediate access to life-saving treatment through Medicaid."

Under the new law, states can extend the full Medicaid benefit package to women who were screened through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and who were found to need treatment for breast or cervical cancer.

Since the CDC program began in 1990, more than 3 million breast and cervical cancer screening tests have been provided to more than 1.8 million women.

To qualify for Medicaid coverage under the program, women must be under age 65, not eligible for Medicaid and without creditable healthcare coverage.

Under the law, these women may now be eligible for Medicaid benefits for the duration of their cancer treatment. States that choose to extend Medicaid benefits to women under this new option will receive a federal match of up to 85% of the costs of treatment. PR