Governors have signed three major new mastectomy-related bills into law recently.
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner signed H.B. 662, a bill requiring state-regulated health carriers to pay for reconstructive surgery after mastectomies for breast cancer.
Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon signed H.B. 1111, a bill that requires certificates of coverage for group health coverage in Indiana to require reconstructive surgery, even if the certificate is linked to an insurance policy issued or delivered in another state.
West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise signed H.B. 2730, a bill requiring state-regulated health insurers to allow patients to stay in the hospital for at least 48 hours after a radical mastectomy, and at least 24 hours after a total mastectomy. The bill also requires health plans to pay for reconstructive surgery.
The flurry of reconstructive surgery bill signings may be a fluke, according to Jeff Gabardi, senior vice president for state affairs at the Health Insurance Association of America, Washington.
States are enacting the breast reconstruction laws mainly to bring their statutes into compliance with the federal Womens Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, which requires group health plans and individual policies to offer post-mastectomy reconstruction benefits, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Arlington Heights, Ill.