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 Legislative & Policy Corner

Health Reform Implementation
More Women are Getting Breast Cancer Screenings under Medicaid Expansion
According to a new study by the Radiological Society of America, low-income women living in Medicaid expansion states are more likely to get screened for breast cancer than low-income women living in non-expansion states. Using data from the 2008 and 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and adjusting for age, education, income and race, the analysis showed that low-income women in expansion states had a similar likelihood of being screened to those in non-expansion states in 2008. However, in 2012, after the early-expander states implemented their programs, low-income women in expansion states were 25 percent more likely to be screened for breast cancer than those in non-expansion states. The next step for these researchers is to explore whether expanded coverage and more mammograms translate to better health outcomes with regard to breast cancer.

Rise in Early Cancer Detection is Linked to Affordable Care Act 
Studies have shown that women with health insurance are far more likely to receive the recommended health screenings that lead to early cancer detection. Starting in 2010, a provision of the Affordable Care Act allowed dependents to stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26, resulting in a substantial drop in the number of uninsured young adults. Researchers from the American Cancer Society used the National Cancer Data Base, a hospital-based registry of about 70 percent of all cancer cases in the United States, to determine whether or not the ACA's coverage provision is impacting the rate of early cervical cancer detection in young women. Their data comparison found that early-stage diagnoses rose substantially among women aged 21 to 25 after the health law took effect. Since November 2009, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that cervical cancer screening begin at age 21, the only cancer screening recommendation for that age group.

Deadline Approaches to Apply for Coverage Beginning Jan. 1, 2016
The third season of open enrollment opened on Nov. 1, 2015. Consumers interested in enrolling in coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2016, must select a plan by Dec. 15. Applications submitted after the Dec. 15 deadline will result in coverage beginning Feb. 1, 2016. Consumers can get connected to coverage through a navigator organization or by visiting or calling 1-800-318-2596. For a list of navigator organizations in your state, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Health Insurance Marketplace will remain open until Jan. 31, 2016. Eligible consumers can apply for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) year-round.