February 22, 2023

Bill to end copays and cost sharing for additional breast exams heads to House floor

The New Mexico State Capitol, or Roundhouse Wikicommons.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to pass a bill that would end cost sharing and copays for additional breast examinations on Wednesday.

HB 27 would, if enacted, end cost sharing and copays for additional screenings some patients need for breast cancer examinations. The Affordable Care Act mandates that mammograms do not require out of pocket costs but for patients who need additional examinations with MRI’s or the use of other technology, the cost can become prohibitive.

State Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Albuquerque, is the sponsor of the bill. She said she first became aware of the problem when she got calls from constituents who told her stories.

“If there was some anomaly or something unique about their breast or had it in their history or had breast cancer or in recovery and needed further testing, the MRI expense associated can be quite high, several hundred dollars or they have to go in every few months. It’s a discouragement if they have to pay $500 or $600 a month,” Chandler said.

Chandler submitted a bill substitute to clarify that insurance companies would not be required to cover the additional exams in their coverage but if they do already, it would eliminate cost sharing.

The bill received unanimous support from the committee and heads next to the House floor.