The eligibility criteria for financial assistance for breast cancer follow-up services in Rhode Island have been expanded to include some insured women, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced today in a move intended to increase access to care amid a shifting health insurance landscape.
The expansion will make these services available to insured women whose incomes fall beneath a certain level. A donation from the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation made this change possible.
"With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more Rhode Islanders have health insurance to cover breast cancer services. But many women struggle to get recommended follow-up services after an abnormal finding because high co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses start to kick in," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "I want to thank the Gloria Gemma Foundation for their generous donation, and for more than a decade of work to expand access to quality health services and care for Rhode Islanders in every zip code throughout the state."
With support from the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, RIDOH has already provided more than 38,000 uninsured or underinsured women with breast and cervical cancer screenings and follow-up services.
"We know how important the Rhode Island Department of Health's Women's Cancer Screening Program is to women in Rhode Island, and we are pleased to be able to help get vital follow-up services to as many people as possible," said Maria Gemma, the Executive Director of the Gloria Gemma Foundation Breast Cancer Resource Foundation.
Examples of breast cancer follow-up services include diagnostic breast imaging, breast ultrasounds, breast biopsy procedures, and lab work related to biopsies.
Financial assistance for breast cancer follow-up services is now available to insured women whose incomes are not more than four times the federal poverty level. (This is sometimes described as being below 400% of the federal poverty level.) For example, a woman with a family size of two is below 400% of the federal poverty level if her family income does not exceed $64,080.
This new funding will enhance RIDOH's Women's Cancer Screening Program, which already provides breast and cervical cancer services to uninsured women whose incomes are not more than two and a half times the federal poverty level (which is sometimes described as being below 250% of the federal poverty level). For example, a woman with a family size of two is below 250% of the federal poverty level if her family income does not exceed $40,050.
The most recent contribution from the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation to RIDOH's Women's Cancer Screening Program was $7,580. The Foundation has been providing funding to RIDOH's Women's Cancer Screening Program annually through the sale of Ribbon of Hope breast cancer awareness license plates. The funding helps the Women's Cancer Screening Program provide services to women from age 40 to 49 years of age. This funding is an important complement to the funding received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Anyone who has questions about eligibility and or who is interested in this service can call 401-222-4324. Staff are available to answer questions in English and Spanish. More information about the Women's Cancer Screening Program is available online.