Gov. Dannel P. Malloy surprised advocates Thursday by signing a bill that will require insurance companies to cover 3D mammography.
In addition to signing the bill, which was passed overwhelmingly by the House and the Senate, Malloy also adjusted the budget by line-item vetoing $775,000 in funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers, $1.73 million for the Connecticut Humanities Council, and $20 million in municipal aid. Most of the cuts were made in an effort to cover the $15.8 million the state would have saved if it had passed bail reform, but House Democrats said they didn’t have enough votes.
As far as the cost of 3D mammography, the state’s Insurance Department said it would cost $9.2 million for fiscal year 2017 and $10 million for fiscal year 2018.
However, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and other supporters of the bill disputed those figures. Advocates said while the cost of purchasing new equipment would be more expensive initially, the money would be made up because the 3D tests are more accurate, meaning thousands of 2D tests that are currently being done would no longer be needed.
“This service is priced differently because it’s not a standard offering,” Malloy said Thursday. “As it becomes a standard offering, I hope the price will actually come down . . . because it’s no longer the exception, but the rule.”
Klarides said it’s only an option for patients and their doctors, rather than a mandate.
The 3D technology is better at preventing false positives, and would prevent repeat mammograms, according to medical professionals supporting the legislation.
“I want to thank Gov. Malloy for signing this measure into law,” Klarides said. “This is not a mandate on insurance companies but will allow patients to avail themselves of ever advancing technology. The upfront costs may be higher but over the broader horizon this will help save lives and money.”
Hologic, the Danbury company that manufactures the 3D technology known as tomosynthesis, said patient callbacks due to the uncertainty of an image are reduced 40 percent.
“That represents real costs savings, but also will mean better health outcomes for women,” the company said in a statement thanking the legislature for passing the bill and Malloy for signing it.
The technology is already covered by Medicare.