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Should Preventative Procedures Such as a Double Mastectomy Be Covered by Health Insurance Companies?

Posted on the 16 May 2013 by Real Talk @talkrealdebate2012
English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film fes...

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As many of you known fame actress Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed in the New York Times discussing her decision to undergo a double mastectomy with an immediate reconstruction.  The news of her elective and proactive procedure opened the dialog on the subject with a greater intensity than witnessed when previous celebrities discussed the same measure.  Most recently, Giuliana Rancic shared her story of undergoing a double mastectomy after testing positive for breast cancer while undergoing testing for an in-vitro procedure.

Unlike Giuliana, Jolie’s decision stemmed from an entirely preventative positioning.  Her mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56.  Angelina tested positive for the BRCA1 gene.  The BRCA1 gene increases the likelihood of the carrier of getting breast cancer up to 70% and ovarian cancer up to 50%.  Jolie stated in her op-ed that she elected to remove her breast tissue so that she could significantly reduce her risk of contracting the disease and potentially dying at a young age.  At least for the sake of her children she wanted to do whatever she could to ensure longevity.  Jolie will soon undergo a procedure to remove her ovaries.

The exam itself to test for the gene is about $3,500.  Many insurance companies do not cover the expense.  In fact many insurance companies don’t cover the procedure or the reconstruction.  Jolie is fortunate that she has the money to be able to have immediate reconstruction of her breasts.  Most women do not have that luxury.

Should preventative procedures such as a double mastectomy be covered by your insurance company?

I think they should.  I think women should have the ability to take measures to increase their chances of living a healthier life.  These women shouldn’t be risking their lives because they can’t afford the procedure.  From a business perspective I would assume that you would save more money from this procedure than future, potential cancer treatments.  I think women with a history of cancer in their families should be covered of this expense.

Now I am by no means an expert in health care.  I still do not 100% understand ObamaCare (I don’t think anyone does, including the Obama administration for that matter).  I am interested in reading your comments on this issue.

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Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate

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