“More than 30 million women get mammograms a year. And while many thought they were free and preventative, they ended up with big bills,” Anna Werner, our partner, writes over at CBS News. “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides for free mammograms every one to two years for women aged 40 and over. But many are called back for a second look and wind up with unexpected bills for hundreds of dollars, In Topeka, Kansas, Sonya Johnson said she went for her regular mammogram, then got a call. Doctors saw something unusual in the images. ‘I kind of panicked, I was like, oh my gosh, you saw what?’ she said. Johnson said she has dense breast tissue, a common condition. Doctors did ultrasounds on both breasts and found that there was nothing to worry about. But the bill for the followup test was $646, Johnson said. ‘I didn’t even think that I was going to get charged,’ she said. ‘It’s preventative, and my first appointment didn’t cost me anything, not even a copayment. So I’m thinking, they called me, and I wasn’t expecting a bill at all.'” Anna Werner, “Cost of mammograms: Preventative breast exams leave women with unexpected bills,” CBS News.
Oct. 31: CBS Evening News, “The hidden cost of mammograms.”After the segment ran, we received hundreds of emails and shares from women with similar problems, and charges ranging into the thousands of dollars. Many of them said they’d stopped getting mammograms because the cost was so high.
Dec. 4: CBS This Morning, “‘I was being penalized for having breast cancer’: Survivor fights with insurance over follow-up tests.”
Dec. 4: CBS Evening News, “Breast cancer survivors hit with unexpected costs for diagnostic mammograms.”
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.