A bill a breast cancer survivor from Mason City lobbied for was among the final bills to pass the Legislature last week. Representative Bill Schickel, a Republican from Mason City, says Holly Mennen’s insurance company wouldn’t pay for her to get a mammogram a few years ago, despite a family history of the disease. Later, she got a memmogram and discovered she has breast cancer. The bill requires insurance companies to pay for a mammogram if a doctor orders it. Schickel calls the bill a step in the right direction. But Representative Brad Hansen, a Republican from Carter Lake, says the bill accomplishes little because current law requires coverage for “medically-necessary” mammograms. He wanted to force insurance companies to print an appeal hotline phone number on insurance cards to give policy-holders who’re denied coverage a way to find out about an appeal. Hansen says insurance companies complained it was a “bureaucratic burden” and there wasn’t enough room on insurance cards for the 1-800 number. Hansen says he’s shocked by what the insurance industry thinks lawmakers will buy, but he says it sold in the Senate, which watered down the bill to what Hansen says it essentially a repetition of current law. Hansen’s also upset Iowa doctors, hospitals and clinics fought the idea of having the insurance appeal hotline number posted in their offices.Hansen says he can’t figure out why a physician wouldn’t want to make the process available to his or her patients. Hansen says he guesses it’s easier to complain about the “big, bad insurance company” than to do something about it.
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