The Oregon Senate has voted unanimously to close a legal loophole that some health insurance companies had used to decline payment for reconstructive surgery for women with breast cancer.

The change will provide insurance coverage for breast reconstruction, even if only part of the breast is removed, The Register-Guard reported.

Under the federal Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, if an insurance plan covers a mastectomy—or the complete surgical removal of a breast, usually done for breast cancer patients—insurers must also cover the costs of breast reconstructive surgery.

But because both federal and Oregon law refer only to mastectomies, some claims to cover reconstructive work after partial breast removals were occasionally turned down by insurance companies.

Dann Leonard, MD, a Salem-based plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reconstructions, said he has seen six or seven cases of insurers denying patients’ claims in the past three years.


[Source: The Argus Observer]