Thursday, May 16, 2013

By law, it's covered!

As I sift through the Angelina Jolie post, articles and news bits, I see this recurring attitude that somehow Angelina being rich made it possible for her to have corrective surgery.  This is SO not the case.

Based on Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA), all insurance plans that cover mastectomy also cover related medical needs like reconstruction.  The U.S. Department of labor has a fabulous FAQ section on this very topic: Your Rights After A Mastectomy

If you have Medicare/Medicaid, the law doesn't cover you the same.  And in the BRCA situation, it might not cover reconstruction;  but that is determined by individual states.  According to;

"Do the WHCRA requirements apply to Medicare or Medicaid?

No. The law does not apply to Medicare and Medicaid.  Still, Medicare covers breast reconstruction if you had a mastectomy because of breast cancer. Medicaid coverage varies in each state, so you will have to get this information for your state."

I expected, at some point, a negative backlash on Angie, although I have to admit, I was hoping it was going to be all support and sunshine.  I felt however that I had to but this falsehood to rest.  Woman are protected well.  There is still work to be done, for sure, but BRCA carriers and women with breast cancer are not doomed to be un-womanly, or "mutilated" because of their economic status.  And Angelina's reconstruction has nothing to do with her wealth.  Actually, unless Hollywood now offers group insurance plans, I bet she did pay her surgeries out of pocket; where mine was covered completely. 

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