By Sunee Mickle,
Director of Government Relations,
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
During the last issue of our grassroots newsletter, we explained that BCBSKS spoke and answered questions for Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee based on the new federal guidelines for mammography screening. This continues to be a hot topic in the legislature. New federal guidelines recommend breast cancer screening (mammograms) begins at age 50 and occur every two years. Previously the guidelines recommended mammogram screening every one to two years for women starting at age 40. BCBSKS does not agree with the new federal recommendations.
BCBSKS encourages annual preventive health care to all members. Women between the ages 19-49 are urged to receive a clinical breast exam and a mammogram as indicated. Furthermore, BCBSKS preventive care encourages annual mammograms for women over the age of 39 or beginning at age 35 if the patient is at a high risk for breast cancer.
We're in week five of the Kansas Legislative session and many important health care and insurance issues have been addressed during the last few weeks. Although some legislative bills might be harmful to our members' rates, we continue to follow all mandates introduced in order to keep health care premiums affordable. The following are a list of bills that BCBSKS is monitoring:
BCBSKS spoke out regarding HB 2546 Marriage and Family Therapy, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Psychotherapists Mandate on Feb. 4. This mandate would require individual and group health insurance policies to reimburse these providers for providing mental health services. BCBSKS supports mental health services and treatments performed by our network providers, and we do not plan to expand our provider network at this time. For 2010, BCBSKS includes 95 percent of all providers in our service area in our network.
This includes 99 percent of all medical doctors and facilities.
On Feb. 10, BCBSKS will testify in opposition to SB 195 which is an oral chemotherapy drug coverage parity mandate. SB 195 requires insurance plans that include a prescription drug benefit to cover orally administered anticancer medications on a basis no less favorable than intravenously administered or injected cancer medications that are covered under medical benefits. Currently at BCBSKS, if a member has a prescription drug benefit they are able to receive coverage for oral chemotherapy drugs. A member's copay or coinsurance amount for the oral chemotherapy drug is based on the benefit structure of their prescription drug plan. Prescription drug benefit plans that provide first dollar coverage for all medications cost more than plans that have a shared pay structure or agreed upon coinsurance amount. This variety of prescription drug plans offers more Kansans the opportunity to purchase prescription drug coverage as part of their overall health insurance plan. As always, we strive to provide affordable health and drug insurance options for our members and this legislation may jeopardize our ability to offer our current products at reasonable rates.
Keep updated on important dates by following the 2010 Kansas Legislature deadline calendar: 2010 revised deadlines.pdf.
If you have specific questions on these or any other health insurance legislation, send your questions to email@example.com. To know more about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas can keep you informed on legislation, see the Grassroots Network section of this site.