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Breast Reconstruction

Breast Cancer Patient Education Act

Although health insurance offers coverage for breast surgery reconstruction following breast cancer treatments, very few women are aware of this option in Orange County. Breast surgery reconstruction simply isn’t presented as a choice for all women undergoing mastectomy and lumpectomy. The Breast Cancer Patient Education Act is designed to change that.

Reconstruction Statistics

Ever since the enactment of a 1998 Federal law, health plans which provide breast cancer coverage have also been required to cover the costs of breast reconstruction or prostheses. Tracking data shows that, of the women who are eligible to take advantage of this benefit, only 33 percent actually undergo breast reconstruction following their cancer treatment. Studies have shown that almost 70 percent of women who are in this situation are simply not informed of their rights under the law.

ASPS Support

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) strongly supports this proposed Act, which would educate women of their right to reconstructive surgery. The two main reasons women do not receive reconstructive surgery following breast cancer are because of failing to receive the appropriate data, and also because no plastic surgeon referrals are issued. The ASPS feels that women deserve to know their rights, and this Act would help educate women about those rights. Whether full reconstruction, adjustment to correct asymmetry, or prostheses is required, all stages of the surgery are covered by health insurance.

Educating Patients

The Act itself requires that an education campaign be planned and implemented in order to inform women of the coverage and availability to cover all procedures related to breast surgery reconstruction. Orange County women may choose to delay their reconstruction until after treatments, or they may prefer prostheses instead. In this case, they should be aware that reconstruction is still mandated by Federal law, regardless of any delay. Women should know their rights, and this bill will help make that happen.

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September 15, 2012
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September 15, 2012