Texas House Bill 1036 was passed in the Texas Senate on May 28 with very strong support. The bill now heads to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature before becoming law. Because the bill passed with a two-thirds majority vote, HB 1036 will go into effect immediately upon Gov. Abbott’s signing.
HB 1036 requires all commercial insurance providers in Texas to cover 3-D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, for breast cancer screening and diagnosis at no additional cost to the patient – just as insurers currently cover traditional 2-D mammography screenings.
The bill was introduced on Jan. 1 by Texas Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston).
Solis Mammography’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stephen Rose, testified in front of the Business and Commerce Committee of the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives Insurance Committee. The bill passed with strong support by the Texas House of Representatives earlier this month.
“We applaud the 85th Texas Legislature, especially Rep. Thompson, for taking a stand on women’s breast health and passing HB 1036,” said James Polfreman, president and CEO of Solis Mammography. “This is a great day for the women of Texas as they now have the peace of mind that their 3-D mammograms, the most advanced form of screening available, will be covered by insurance with no additional out-of-pocket expense.”
When signed into law, Texas will become the sixth state to have similar legislation in place for insurers to treat all screening mammography (2-D and 3-D) the same – at no extra cost to patients. Texas will join Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Arkansas. Similar legislation is underway to support insurance coverage for 3-D mammography in Arizona, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey and New Hampshire.
Polfreman continued: “Ideally, we want all insured women in the United States, regardless of whether they are a Solis Mammography patient, to be able to receive full coverage for 3-D mammography. Today, in many states, a woman’s ability to benefit from the advances of 3-D mammography is not based on education or physician recommendation, but rather upon her financial means. This can and is changing with active support from many, including our Texas state representatives.”
While conventional 2-D mammography was a significant step forward for its time, it has been dramatically surpassed by the improved technology of 3-D mammography. More than 125 studies have demonstrated an increase in cancer detection (up to 54 percent) and a reduction in recalls (up by 37 percent). The technology not only increases a woman’s chances for early detection and survival, but from a cost standpoint reduces the time, burden and expense of unnecessary follow-up diagnostic testing and/or later stage invasive surgeries and treatments.
The Food and Drug Administration approved 3-D mammography in 2011. Medicare has covered 3-D mammography since January 2015. And with Gov. Abbott’s signature, insured women in Texas will have full access to the best screening mammography available by today’s medical standard.