The American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) strongly support and echo Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s call on the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to mandate continued full insurance coverage of mammograms for women ages 40-and-older currently guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“I would hope that even the most ardent critic of mammography would agree that women who decide they want to greatly reduce their chances of breast cancer death by getting a mammogram at the time and frequency of their choosing should have insurance coverage for the exam,” said Barbara Monsees, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.

The ACA presently requires private insurers to cover exams or procedures given a grade of “B” or higher by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The Task Force gave routine screening of women ages 40-49 a grade of “C” and gave a “B” grade only to biennial (every other year) screening for women 50-74.

These exams are currently covered for women 40-and-older due to Senator Mikulski’s ‘Women’s Preventive Health Amendment’ to the ACA. However, if the draft USPSTF recommendations released April 20 are confirmed, that exception could be voided. Women ages 40-49 who choose routine screening and those 50-74 who want to be screened annually would not be guaranteed coverage.

“The Secretary of HHS has the power to mandate that private insurers and Medicare cover women for regular mammograms. Since the USPSTF recommendations are linked by law to insurance coverage, the secretary needs to act now to confirm that women who want access to lifesaving mammography care are covered by their insurers for these exams,” said Murray Rebner, MD, FSBI, president of the Society of Breast Imaging.

The ACR and SBI also back the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1151), recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bobby L. Rush (D-IL). The bill seeks greater USPSTF transparency regarding the public comment process, adherence to the Administrative Procedure Act, engaging stakeholder experts and patients in a meaningful way, and public access to deliberations and supporting materials.

For more information regarding the proven effectiveness of regular mammography screening at reducing breast cancer deaths, please visit MammographySavesLives.org.