Shekarchi bill would mandate full coverage for all mastectomy costs


Legislation introduced by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi would require health insurers in Rhode Island to fully cover all costs of mastectomies, including medical supplies needed subsequent to surgery.

The legislation (2017-H 6294) updates existing state law mandating insurance coverage for mastectomies, which in 2005 made coverage for mastectomies mandatory. In the 12 years since, insurers have chipped away at coverage for those who have to have mastectomies, instituting extremely high copays and deductibles, and leaving breast cancer survivors to cover all or much of the costs of necessary related items, such as compression sleeves or prostheses.

“This bill makes it clear that insurers must cover all of the costs of mastectomies, without copays and deductibles and without leaving people on the hook for all the various medical supplies they need as a result,” said Leader Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick). “Breast cancer is a very emotional cancer, one that can leave even those who fight it very successfully with a tremendous feeling of loss. That loss should not be compounded by struggles to pay for their treatment or the things they need to heal and recover their lives.”

The legislation was introduced on June 8, and although Leader Shekarchi says he does not expect it to pass this year given its late introduction, he wanted to open up the conversation about coverage for mastectomies. The bill has wide support in the House, with 40 cosponsors including every female representative. The first four listed on the bill are Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence), Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett), Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) and Rep. Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence).

He said he introduced the bill not because of the experience of any single particular woman, but because a number of women he knows have told him about being hit with unexpected costs relating to mastectomies.

“This is for all women, and all Rhode Islanders, because we all know someone who has had to fight breast cancer. One in eight women is diagnosed with it in her lifetime, making it the most common form of cancer among women. No women – or man – who has to go through breast cancer and a mastectomy should also be burdened with high medical bills as a result,” said Leader Shekarchi.

 The bill is supported by the American Cancer Society’s Rhode Island chapter and the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation.


6 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

I can't believe this procedure is not already covered by all insurers. It is clearly a make-sense piece of legislation and Shekarchi is to be commended for his efforts on it.

Congratulations Joe!

Rick Corrente

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A medically required procedure, such as a

mastectomy should be covered. It's outrageous they have gotten away with this!

Now, If we could only remove the political boob Corrente....

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dear KaptainMorgan,

First you agree with me. Then you attack me.

That makes no sense.

In either event, Joe Shekarchi is still to be commended.

As far as KaptainMorgan, maybe he/she prefers to "increase taxes - increase spending". Maybe he/she isn't sure.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Its very telling that Rick didn't sign off with "the taxpayers mayor" while complimenting Mr. Shekarchi. Its almost like he recognizes how embarrasing it would be to refer to himself as that, while speaking to an actual elected official.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dear Scal1024,

That's not true at all.

I have signed off on many articles about elected officials with my self-imposed title "The Taxpayers Mayor". However, this was not a political complement. This legislation was a moral issue. Therefore I felt I should leave politics out of this one comment. I didn't want people like, well, you, saying that I was jumping on Joe's bandwagon.

I'm sorry you brought it up.

You shouldn't have. Why would I be embarrassed to speak to a fellow Democrat anyway?

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

Friday, July 28, 2017

Hello Scal1024:

"That's not true at all," says the fake "mayor" to your suggestion that he would feel any embarrassment over his behavior.

Finally, we get one factual statement from the losing failure; we can be sure he will humiliate himself by attempting to withdraw it.

It is quite telling and an indication of his desperation to avoid the legitimate question of why he used campaign funds to pay rent to someone who formerly paid the taxes on his claimed residence that he engages in such boorish and pathetic behavior.

We should now expect a reply along the lines of "NO U!!!" from the fake "mayor," further proving his complete unfitness for office.

Perhaps you are continually baffled, as I am, why the fake "mayor" persists in incessantly posting comments on this site that could easily be collected and republished during next year's campaign, as if he thinks no one would have the wherewithal to create a web page, print ad, or mailer that lists his disproven claims.

Perhaps you feel as I do that he is just that arrogant, short-sighted, and naive to think that his behavior on this site would not be used against him in the future.

Any opponent will be able to save thousands of dollars on opposition research by simply quoting the fake "mayor's" own words, and I look forward to joining you and thousands of honest, taxpaying voters in rejecting his candidacy again next November.

Friday, July 28, 2017