Benefits | Breast Cancer Interventions

Health benefits to support breast cancer screening1

Employee health benefits are part of an overall compensation package and affect an employee’s willingness to seek preventive services and clinical care.

Provide coverage for clinical preventive services such as mammography for breast cancer screening

  • Mammography screening is a valuable early detection tool that can identify breast cancer at an early stage when treatment is more effective and less expensive
  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends the following clinical screening and follow-up care:
    • Clinical breast cancer screening including genetic testing for high risk women
    • Diagnostic follow-up (e.g., biopsies) and treatment
    • Chemopreventive medication as recommended by physician for women at high risk for breast cancer
    • Prophylactic surgical removal of the breast (mastectomy), with or without reconstruction, as recommended by physician for women at very high risk for breast cancer (e.g., women with high genetic risk)
  • Any cancer screening program must include a plan for following up women with a positive reading and referring them to clinical evaluation. It is an ethical standard widely accepted in the medical and public health community that screening programs should always be linked to a follow-up education, referral, and treatment plan

Reduce out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer screening

  • Investigations have shown that reducing the cost of the intervention service for the client increases demand for and use of screening services. Employers can reduce the costs for cancer screening by paying for the screening tests or their administrative costs, by providing insurance coverage, by reducing co-payments for services, by reimbursing the client or the screening site for services rendered, or by offering any combination of these reimbursement strategies
  • The Task Force on Community Preventative Services found that reducing out-of-pocket costs for screening increases breast cancer screening rates
  • Bringing mobile screening services on-site is often an effective strategy to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. On-site interventions such as these reduce the cost barriers that prevent employees from receiving preventive services such as transportation to a screening facility and the need for child care

Require health plans to send reminders to both employee members and providers about breast cancer screening

  • Employee and provider reminders tell people that it is time to schedule a mammogram or that they are late (recall) for a recommended screening
  • Employee reminders can be mailed as a letter or postcard or communicated as part of a telephone call
  • Additional information about the health benefits of the screening, strategies to overcome barriers to screening and assistance with scheduling a screening test can also be included as part of the reminder

1.  Task Force on Community Preventive Services. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.