Addabbo Bill Requiring Health Insurance Coverage For Lung Cancer and Breast Cancer Screening Approved by NYS Senate

Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

June 7, 2024

Queens, NY (June 6, 2024): New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. announced his bill (S.8553C) requiring health insurance policies to provide coverage, without a co-pay or deductible for lung cancer screening, was approved by the New York State Senate.

“Expanding accessibility for critical early detection services is key to reducing lung cancer mortality. 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. 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. I am grateful for the American Cancer Society’s support as we collaborate to ensure access to lung cancer screening, follow-up testing, and treatment. After all, these important steps should never depend on a patient's ability to pay!”

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers and the leading cause of cancer deaths among New Yorkers. Each year over 6,700 men and over 7,200 women are diagnosed with lung cancer and about 3,800 men and over 3,600 women die from this disease.  Since 1995 in New York State, lung cancer death rates among men and women have been declining, but the decline among women has been slower. Detecting lung cancer early without a screening test is difficult because symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer is in its advanced stage and it is more difficult to treat. 

Sadly, the five-year lung cancer survival rate in NY is 32.1%, with only 31% of cases caught at an early stage and significant disparities between different racial and ethnic groups. Removing cost sharing, such as deductibles, copayments, or similar charges, for preventative services has historically increased participation in these lifesaving services. 

Addabbo’s bill will ensure comprehensive coverage and the elimination of cost-sharing for lung cancer screening and follow-up testing for all asymptomatic individuals by all insurance providers in New York, including Medicaid. 

A second bill (S.7785) co-sponsored by Addabbo and approved by the Senate would expand eligibility for breast cancer screening to individuals with a second-degree relative with a prior history of breast cancer.

Current law stipulates that insurance policies covering hospital, surgical, and medical care must cover mammography examinations to detect breast cancer in policyholders over a certain age, under certain medical conditions, and with a family history of breast cancer. Mammography screening is the most effective means of detecting breast cancer in its early stages when treatment and recovery opportunities are greatest. However, medical professionals called for increased regular screening for policyholders under age fifty and those with greater risks, such as a family history of breast cancer.

“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,” Addabbo explained.

After approval by the Senate, both bills were delivered to the NYS Assembly for consideration.