August 25, 2016 — National insurer Cigna revised its medical coverage policy for breast cancer screening and will now cover three-dimensional (3D) mammography for routine breast cancer screening. Under its previous policy, the company covered 3-D mammography for diagnostic purposes, but not for routine screening.
The policy had been based on guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which said there was insufficient evidence to determine that 3-D mammography is clinically superior to traditional mammography for breast cancer screening. Cigna routinely covers preventive services that earn an “A” or “B” rating from the USPSTF, which 3-D mammography for screening did not have (it was rated “I”).
The company has changed its 3-D mammography coverage policy based on more recent guidance from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers that sets standards for high-quality cancer care.
Cigna's coverage policies for medications, medical procedures and medical devices are based on an extensive examination of peer-reviewed medical and scientific studies, medical journal articles and other scientific evidence, as well as guidelines from professional medical societies. Policies are reviewed regularly and are changed based on new evidence and new guidance.
“We are always open to change based on new scientific evidence or new guidance from respected non-commercial organizations like the NCCN,” said Julie Kessel, M.D., Cigna's senior medical director who oversees medical coverage policy. “We have a responsibility to our customers and clients to ensure that the medical treatments, tests and procedures they’re paying for have proven clinical value and will help improve their health and well-being. That’s a responsibility that we don’t take lightly.”
Mammography technology provider Hologic voiced its support for Cigna’s decision. "We commend Cigna for its decision to cover 3-D mammograms for breast cancer screening and are thrilled for the millions of women who now have access to this proven technology without co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses," said Pete Valenti, Hologic's division president, breast and skeletal health solutions.
Cigna's new coverage policy applies to 3-D mammography services provided on and after Aug. 23, 2016.
For more information: www.cigna.com