Monday, June 17, 2024
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New Law Requires Insurance To Pay For Prostate Tests

A new law sponsored by Senator Ken Yager will require insurance companies to pay for prostate cancer exams for high-risk individuals statewide.

The bill extends insurance coverage to men over 40 who meet the criteria of being especially vulnerable. This includes men who have a family member diagnosed with the disease and African American males. Yager is a prostate cancer survivor.

“Part of it is, if you don’t mind my saying so, it’s a guy thing,” Yager said. “They just don’t get around to fooling with it until it’s too late. By the time you realize you’re having symptoms, the prostate cancer, it’s generally too late. In fact, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death for men.”

Yager said that the PSA test is a simple blood test that can be done by a patient’s general practitioner. He said that the disease is easily preventable as long as it’s caught early. Yager said that a PSA test like those offered by the bill likely saved his life when he was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in 2022.

“That’s why I really encourage men everywhere to have their exam done, particularly if they’re higher risk men. Men who have had a first degree relative, dad or brother who have had prostate cancer and African Americans.”

Yager said the bill has very little economic cost and will not be taxpayer-funded. Yager said that prior to this bill, insurance companies were only required to cover prostate cancer tests after the age of 50, whereas experts suggest yearly tests after 40.

“It would just be requiring these insurance companies who are already insuring a person, a male, to provide coverage to have a prostate test done when you’re in your forties rather than waiting until 50,” Yager said.

Governor Bill Lee signed the bill May 29.

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