After a mastectomy, breast reconstruction is covered
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Did you know? Federal law requires that most group insurance plans that cover mastectomies also must cover breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients.
Deductibles and co-pays apply, of course, but the bottom line is ensuring that women know their options and are offered breast reconstruction surgery, whether immediately after a mastectomy, after other breast cancer treatments are done, or later.
“This coverage is so important for women with breast cancer,” says Dr. Elizabeth O’Connor of Plastic Surgery & Skin Specialists by BayCare Clinic. She is a plastic surgeon who is fellowship trained in reconstructive breast surgery.
“It’s important that they know how and when they can have reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy.”
Even so, most women who have a mastectomy for breast cancer do not have breast reconstruction surgery, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The federal Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, signed into law in 1998, requires that post-mastectomy benefits cover:
- Rebuilding a breast.
- Surgery or reconstruction of the other breast to make both look symmetrical or balanced.
- External breast prostheses or forms needed before or during reconstructive surgery.
Elizabeth A. O’Connor, MD, received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. She completed her residency in plastic surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Dr. O’Connor is fellowship trained in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Breast Surgery. Learn more about her here.