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NY State Assembly Bill A08537 – Insurance Coverage for Aesthetic Flat Closure After Mastectomy

Following direct talks with NPOAS leadership in October, Rep. Stacey Pheffer Amato of NY District 23 has introduced a bill in the New York State Assembly to protect mastectomy patients seeking aesthetic flat closure by ensuring their surgery is covered by insurance.

Why We Need This Bill Now

All women with breast cancer deserve to have insurance cover their surgery. After a mastectomy for breast cancer, there are two types of reconstructive surgeries available – but only one is guaranteed by law to be covered by insurance.

Women who forgo breast reconstruction are most often done in one surgery, but about one in four will require revision to produce an acceptable aesthetic result (an aesthetic flat closure, or AFC). Too often, these women are told that their revision surgery is “cosmetic” and therefore will not be covered by insurance. How would you feel if this (right) was you or your loved one?

An important step in solving this problem is to require insurance companies to pay for AFC surgeries just like they are required to pay for conventional reconstruction. Assembly Bill A08537 does exactly that.

What’s in the Bill?

New York State law contains a word for word excerpt from the federal Women’s Health & Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) which requires most insurance companies to cover the costs of breast reconstruction. Wherever the NY law says “breast reconstruction”, Bill A08537 simply amends it to say “breast or chest wall reconstruction.” It’s that simple! The bill also mentions aesthetic flat closure as defined by the National Cancer Institute as specifically included in “chest wall reconstruction.”

This will ensure that patients are not denied necessary care simply because they chose to forgo breast reconstruction in favor of a flat closure.

Take Action! Sign the Petition

Let’s ensure mastectomy patients in New York state get the care they need and deserve!

Our Thanks

Our thanks to the flat advocacy community members whose participation contributed to the creation of this historic bill! Stand Tall AFC, organized by Renee Ridgley of Less Than Two Breasts and Stacey Sigman of Flat Retreat, was instrumental with boots on the ground and direct engagement with local civil leadership bridging key relationships to advocate for this bill. Jo Ann Shapiro Amato introduced the team, including Melissa Eppard (Melissa Eppard Coaching) and NPOAS leaders Christy Avila and Kim Bowles, to Rep. Pheffer Amato for talks. Working in concert during the Stand Tall Campaign, Flat Retreat NY members Meg Haney Krause, Susan Derwin, Allyson Skikas & Cindy McCord coordinated community turnout. Putting FLAT on the menu is truly a team effort!

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Published by Not Putting on a Shirt

Founder of Not Putting on a Shirt, a mastectomy patients' rights organization that advocates for optimal surgical outcomes for patients going flat.

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