Tuesday, August 28, 2001
The Associated Press
TRENTON -- Health insurance companies in New Jersey must now cover all costs when a doctor orders a Pap smear or other similar test.
A bill signed Monday by acting Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco requires health insurers to pay for the screening tests, lab costs, and follow-up tests.
The bill supplements a 1995 measure that required insurance coverage for the tests. Some patients had health insurance plans that did not pay for all associated fees, lawmakers said.
year and the state's rate for the disease is higher than the national average, said bill sponsor Sen. Diane Allen, R-Burlington.
"We can save lives by detecting cervical cancer early and providing the treatment women need to cure the problem. That is why it is important that no one ever hesitates to get examined for fear it won't be covered by insurance," DiFrancesco said in a statement.
About 400 women in New Jersey develop cervical cancer each
"This law is really about putting women's health concerns first," Allen said.
Testing labs charge HMOs an average of $7.50 for each test, but for those without insurance the cost is $70 to $80, according to figures provided by Allen's office.
The measure also applies to the organization that insures state and municipal workers.
State officials estimate that additional coverage will cost $6.5 million