Women: Check Mammography Coverage Before Choosing Health Plan

January 20, 2010

Whether you’re male or female, choosing between hmo and ppo health plans can be difficult. For women, however, it’s important to take a close look at covered preventive services before selecting a plan? What’s a preventive service? It includes things like mammograms, which, until recently, were considered routine wellness care for women over the age of 40.

Late last year, however, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force declared that mammograms aren’t actually all that helpful, especially for women under the age of 50. Just before Thanksgiving, 2009, they announced that the tests don’t need to be recommended for non-high-risk (no family history of breast cancer) women between the ages of 40-49, and for women aged 50-74, mammograms are now recommended biannually (every two years) , instead of every year.

Of course, if a woman wants annual mammograms, she should get them.

In terms of changes to health insurance coverage, there’s very little risk that your existing plan will drop your coverage, or deny a mammogram if your doctor recommends it. However, if you are shopping for a new plan, you should be certain to check the preventive services listings and know exactly when and how often mammography is covered before you commit.

While all 50 states mandate some kind of mammography coverage, the details of mandatory preventive services vary from state to state. You can check the listings for your state at the website for the Council for Affordable Health Insurance.