July 14, 2017

Texas Mandates Tomosynthesis Coverage

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation into law June 15, 2017, requiring all commercial health insurers in the state to cover digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT).

More than two-thirds of the state senate voted for HB 1036 when it passed May 30 and moved directly to Abbott for his signature. The mandate will be effective Sept 1.

The law defines breast tomosynthesis as “a radiologic mammography procedure that involves the acquisition of projection images over a stationary breast to produce cross-sectional digital three-dimensional images of the breast from which applicable breast cancer screening diagnoses may be determined.”

The Dallas Morning News ran a June 30 story covering the arguments that led to the bill’s approval. Michael Ulissey, MD, FACR a councilor for the Texas Radiological Society and adjunct professor of radiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, and Phil Evans, MD, FACR, radiology professor at University of Texas–Southwestern Medical Center described DBT’s benefits. The newspaper referred to DBT as “3-D mammography.”

The Texas Association of Business and the National Federation of Independent Business opposed the new law. Their concerns revolved around potentially higher premiums for employer-sponsored health plans and less affordable insurance for other Texans.

The Morning News noted Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and United Healthcare are among insurers that already cover the service in the state.