Screening mammograms are covered at no cost ; Both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act provide the safeguard
|By Carole Fader|
I've received this email for the third time that says that yearly mammograms for women over 70 will not be covered by
We're getting many emails about the Affordable Care Act. It's a lot to take in, so we'll try to clear up what we can.
The ACA requires insurers to cover a mammography screening at no cost every one to two years starting at age 40. Since the ACA insurance coverage doesn't begin until
(A no-cost baseline mammogram is available for women ages 35-39. For a diagnostic mammogram, usually performed when an abnormality is found on the screening mammogram,
Before the ACA, seniors not eligible for
The group notes that while the preventive services are free, there might be a facility fee at certain hospitals or an office visit fee if the patient has a doctor's appointment before or after the preventive screening.
FactCheck.org, the nonpartisan fact-finding project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the
For elderly women, mammograms should continue "as long as she does not have serious, chronic health problems such as congestive heart failure, end-stage renal disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and moderate to severe dementia," the ACS says.
The "74" age claim mentioned in the viral email probably came after the
Those recommendations advised screening every two years starting at age 50. It said that for women younger than 50, the decision to have a mammogram should be an "individual one and take patient context into account, including the patient's values regarding specific benefits and harms." The harms were mainly false positive tests.
As for women 75 and older, the task force said evidence wasn't available to determine benefits versus harms for that age group.
Now, the 2009 recommendations did not say that women under 50 or over 74 shouldn't get mammograms at all, even though political ads and interviews on conservative websites promulgated that view.
At the time the recommendations came out,
And that is what the final health care act states:
"[F]or the purposes of this Act, and for the purposes of any other provision of law, the  current recommendations of the
That means that the previous 2002 guidelines - recommending screening mammography every one to two years for women ages 40 and older - provide the minimum coverage requirements in the Affordable Care Act.
But the misinformation continues, as FactCheck.org points out.
A graphic on the screen listed "Mammogram Restrictions," including "Screenings starting at age 50, not 40" and "Screenings end at age 74."
FactCheck.org talked to Held, who maintained that mammograms weren't covered by
FactCheck.org challenged that, and Held said in a subsequent email that her mother "got through to
The bottom line: Screening mammograms are covered at no cost under
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