You’ve probably heard that actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy, to prevent the (very) likely onset of breast cancer. After genetic testing, she discovered that she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer, due to her carrying a faulty gene called BRCA1.
Most people cannot afford to pay for the tests and surgeries Angelina underwent, at least not without insurance. Ms. Jolie reportedly paid over $3,000 for the genetic test and most likely another $20,000 for the double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery.
Now many women are questioning whether these life-saving genetic tests and preventative surgeries are covered by their insurance. Unfortunately, the answer is almost certainly NO.
The vast majority of insurance plans do not cover preventative tests and surgeries. Insurance kicks in only after a woman has already contracted cancer. Now Angelina has bravely demonstrated how women can determine their cancer risk before ever getting sick – and give them a chance to avoid the resulting illness and death almost completely (in Angelina’s case, an incredible reduction of risk from 87% to 5%). Of course – avoiding pain, illness, and death is a very attractive proposition to every one of us.
Insurers – pay attention. Women (and men!) deserve the best health care available – and that includes affordable preventative care.