Only about half the women eligible for free screening through Medicare are getting mammograms in Iowa. Amy Fletcher with the Iowa Foundation for Medical care says women over forty who are eligible for the low-income healthcare assistance can get 80-percent of the cost paid by the federal program. She says the rest, which generally is a low amount like 20-dollars, can be paid by supplemental insurance or state programs. The low-dose X-ray is considered a key factor in early detection and treatment of breast cancer. In Iowa, women can “self-refer” without a physician’s order, sign themselves up. Still, Fletcher says, about 52-point-7-percent of the Iowa women who are eligible take advantage of Medicare help in paying for it. She says there are a lot of reasons why women don’t get mammograms, but if their doctor talks with them about how important is it, they’re much more likely to get it. She says luckily, in Iowa access is not a problem with 146 certified mammogram units in 87 counties. She recommends women ask their doctor, because even if they don’t need a doctor’s referral to get a mammogram, they can tell where to sign up and get it done, and then will have the patient’s records in her file.
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