Feds expand treatment for breast and cervical cancer

Nine states added to Medicaid program

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has approved nine state plan amendments allowing expanded Medicaid coverage to women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through a federal screening program.

Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington are the latest states to be given a green light to amend their Medicaid programs to expand coverage under the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000.

So far, HHS has approved state plan amendments allowing 19 states to expand Medicaid coverage to this new eligibility category.

In addition to the nine most recent approvals, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Maryland have been given permission by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to take advantage of the new option, according to HHS.

An October 2000 law (Pub. L. No. 106-354) created the optional Medicaid eligibility category for low-income women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through the Centers for Disease Control Prevention’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

States that decide to expand coverage under this new option will receive an enhanced federal match of up to 85% of the costs, according to HHS. Women qualifying for coverage under Medicaid must be under 65 and without "creditable" health care coverage. These women may be eligible for Medicaid coverage for the duration of their cancer treatment.