New legislation eliminates cost-sharing for lung cancer screenings, championing early detection in NY

lung cancer
Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. sponsored bills to expand medical coverage on cancer screenings.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

Health insurance companies in New York State, including Medicaid, may soon be required to cover and eliminate cost-sharing for lung cancer screening and follow-up testing for all asymptomatic individuals.

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., representing neighborhoods in District 15, including Middle Village and Woodhaven, announced this month that his bill to require health insurance policies to cover lung cancer screenings has passed in Albany.

Addabbo’s legislation (S.8553C) helps solve an ongoing issue in personal healthcare and health coverage related to cancer screenings. Lung cancer plagues millions of New Yorkers each year as the leading cause of cancer deaths, according to the New York State Department of Health.

The Queens legislator acknowledged the importance of early cancer screening and the work of the American Cancer Society to highlight the life-saving legislation.

“Cancer survival often depends on access to quality and affordable health insurance coverage, with uninsured individuals more likely to be diagnosed with later-stage cancer, resulting in poorer outcomes,” Addabbo said. “My bill, S.8553, will help to ensure everyone has access to lung cancer screenings as a first step toward dramatically improving their chance of survival.”

The Department of Health reports that over 6,700 men and over 7,200 women are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, and over 3,000 men and women die from this disease.

In DOH studies, removing cost sharing in the form of deductibles, copayments or similar charges for preventative cancer services has historically increased participation in these lifesaving services.

Addabbo continues in his legislative endeavors to provide New Yorkers with access to cancer screening through a co-sponsored bill (S.7785) introduced to expand eligibility for breast cancer screenings to people with a prior history of breast cancer.

Currently, insurance providers are able to cover certain breast cancer screenings under set parameters, like a patient’s age, underlying medical conditions and family medical history. Addabbo said the co-sponsored bill should help alleviate those limiting restrictions to screenings.

“The earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chances for survival, and in NYS, breast and lung are two of the most commonly diagnosed cancers,” said Addabbo. “This important legislation ensures greater access to essential early detection tests and helps to provide policyholders much better health outcomes when receiving a breast cancer or lung cancer diagnosis.”

Both bills were delivered to the NYS Assembly for consideration and await further approval from fellow lawmakers and the governor.