Logo, The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care - Health Care Advocacy Group
(518) 462-2296
P.O. Box 1412
Albany, NY 12201

MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION

Bill:     A.4922 (Carrozza) - An act to amend the Insurance Law in relation to providing insurance coverage for annual mammograms for women over the age of forty.

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care, a coalition of nearly 2,500 employers committed to keeping New Yorkís health care affordable, supports a moratorium on all health insurance mandates until our state joins with twenty-seven other states that require an examination of costs and efficacy of all mandate proposals prior to legislative consideration. Furthermore, this one-house bill actually diminishes the current mammography benefit and presents significant efficacy concerns. For these reasons, the Employer Alliance urges your opposition to this misguided legislation.

New Yorkís current mammography law is more comprehensive than A.4922 New York already has one of the most comprehensive mandated mammogram laws in the nation. That law, most recently amended in 2003, requires the coverage of mammograms for women between the ages of 40 and 49 every two years or more frequently upon the recommendation of a physician. A.4922 seeks to make this coverage available annually commencing at age forty. Our current law mirrors the recommendations of the National Cancer Institute. This legislation takes the position advocated by the American Cancer Society. While it is unfortunate that two leading cancer advocacy organizations have endorsed different standards for screenings, it would seem that the current mandate gives providers far greater latitude to screen patients according to their best clinical judgment. In fact, voting for this proposal may actually limit mammogram coverage for women between the ages of 40 and 49. For instance, if a provider found clinical reasons to administer three mammograms in the space of two years to a woman between ages 40-49, the coverage of the third screening could be denied under this new amendment. Conversely, if the clinician felt an annual screening was appropriate, they can order such a test at their own discretion under the current guideline.

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care urges lawmakers to look beyond politics and consider the policy implications of passing legislation that could promote unhealthy and inappropriate screenings while conceivably diminishing access to needed care. As employers who are paying significant premium dollars to provide health care to our employees, we want to ensure those dollars are being spent effectively. Until consensus on the appropriate screening intervals for mammograms is reached, New Yorkís current mandate is more than sufficient to meet the health needs of women statewide.

For all these reasons, the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care opposes A.4922. 

Employer Alliance For Affordable Health Care

PO Box 1412

Albany, New York 12201-1412

(518) 462-2296

employeralliance@yahoo.com

www.employeralliance.com

Scott Miller, Chairman

3/2006