Komen Pushes for Coverage of Infertility Treatments

Susan G. Komen San Diego joined the five other California Affiliates in Sacramento on Lobby Day  to meet with State elected officials about legislation needed to bridge the gaps in insurance coverage for breast cancer patients throughout the state.

“Komen continues to be the voice for the more than 3.6 million breast cancer survivors and those who love them, working to ensure that the fight against breast cancer is a priority among policymakers in every Capitol across the country, including California,” said Lizzie Wittig, Director of Grants & Public Policy for Komen San Diego.

The group of 15 visited the Capitol today to share more about Komen’s 2017 legislative priorities, and the role that we have as breast cancer advocates in California.

“Out two primary topics for our conversations are to express our support for SB 172, and to provide an update on the Every Woman Counts (EWC) program,” said Wittig.

Komen is supporting SB 172 by Senator Portantino, which would require health care insurers to cover standard fertility preservation services for Californians who receive medical treatments that may compromise their fertility.

Fortunately, patients facing medically-caused (iatrogenic) infertility now have effective options for preserving their fertility prior to the initiation of cancer treatments. However, most health care plans do not provide for fertility preservation services for these patients. Coverage is typically provided for other side effects of treatment such as chemotherapy-induced anemia, wigs, and prostheses, so coverage to include protecting fertility and reproduction, which are fundamental life functions, should also be covered.

SB 172 is set to be heard in the Senate Health Committee on April 26th, and we are asking for elected officials’ yes vote when the bill is introduced.  

The second topic of conversation with elected officials is about the Every Woman Counts Program. Since 2009, Komen has been engaged in protecting and promoting the EWC program, which provides free clinical breast exams and mammograms, along with other services, to California’s underserved women. The mission of the EWC is to save lives by preventing and reducing the devastating effects of cancer for Californians through education, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, and integrated preventive services, with special  emphasis on the underserved. It is crucial to protect this program, as it is an important avenue for women to receive life-saving screening and treatment services who would not otherwise have access.

Last year, Komen sponsored a bill expanding breast cancer screenings under EWC. AB 1795 by then Assembly Member Toni Atkins ensured that an individual of any age who is symptomatic, whose age is within the range for routine breast cancer screening, and meets all other requirements, is eligible for breast cancer screening and diagnostic services. Also, if an individual is diagnosed with a recurrence of breast or cervical cancer, whether at the original cancer site or a different cancer site, the individual will be eligible for an additional period of treatment coverage.

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