You’ll never believe why some women aren’t being treated for breast cancer.

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When I tell people my true passion is selling insurance and not filming reality TV shows, they don’t believe me. And I don’t blame them. As I’ve written before, “Reality TV is fun. Insurance is boring.”

But insurance is also important. In fact, it’s life-altering and even life-saving. If you need any proof of that, let’s talk about something that quite literally is close to the heart of all women: their breasts.

A new breast-cancer study is out, and I haven’t seen any major media coverage of it yet. There should be, because the conclusion is just awful…

One in five women is likely to forgo additional testing after an abnormal finding on a screening mammogram if there is a deductible.

That study was conducted by the Radiological Society of North America. The RSNA did a really thorough investigation. They followed 932 women who went for breast imaging between September 2021 and February 2022.

“When asked whether they would skip indicated imaging if they knew they had to pay a deductible, of 714 respondents, 151 (21.2%) said they would skip imaging,” the RSNA said. Another 139, or nearly 20%, were “undecided.”

Let that sink in for a moment. One in five women who might have breast cancer don’t find out for sure – because they can’t afford the health insurance deductible.

Deductibles and diagnoses

I can’t remember the last time I felt so depressed and angry at the same time. The health of these women are in jeopardy because of an insurance problem.

The RSNA says the main cause of this lethal problem can be summed up in four letters: HDHP. No, that’s not a new kind of high-resolution TV set. It stands for “high deductible health plan.” They’ve been around since 2004, but they’ve grown in popularity since then. They’re basically what their name describes: You get healthcare coverage, but you pay a massive out-of-pocket amount before that coverage kicks in.

For 2023, the minimum deductible is $1,500 for individuals and $3,00 for families, and the federal government says, “HDHP deductibles are often significantly higher than the minimums.”

As you can imagine, women with HDHPs might not be able to afford to get a definitive diagnosis. Not when they have to shell out that kind of cash.

The lead author of the RSNA study is a doctor named Michael Ngo from Boston University. He says the Affordable Care Act – which everyone calls Obamacare – was both good news and bad news for these women.

“The ACA removed out-of-pocket costs for screening mammograms under most health plans to encourage women to partake in this important preventative health care measure,” Dr. Ngo says. “However, the screening mammogram is only the first step in detecting breast cancer. If the radiologist detects an abnormal finding on the screening image, then additional images and a biopsy are needed to determine if the patient has cancer. The ACA does not mandate insurance to cover the costs of these additional services.”

Financial health is physical health

Dr. Ngo concludes, “These results could be used to advocate for legislation that will cover these important follow-up tests.”

Yeah, right. Wait for Congress to do something. Great plan.

What the good doctor is forgetting is the non-government solution: Talk to an insurance expert, then talk to a debt expert.

So to bring this back to the beginning, tragedies like this are why insurance is my passion – because I can help people literally live longer. In the insurance industry, there are often complex solutions to simple problems. You need to work with someone who knows how to navigate them.

Of course, if you’re buried in debt, you can’t afford these life-affirming solutions. That’s why I work with Debt.com. They help people keep more of their money, instead of shipping it off to lenders at exorbitant interest rates. With that extra cash, they can live healthier and wealthier.

Call Debt.com at (844) 844-2543 for a free debt analysis from a certified credit counselor and for more information, check out: debt.com/vicki

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About the Author

Vicki Gunvalson

Vicki Gunvalson

Before Vicki Gunvalson starred on Bravo TV’s hit series “Real Housewives of Orange County” – which launched the franchise in 2006 – she was already a financial expert. Gunvalson has owned and operated Coto Insurance for three decades. Based in Irvine, California, Coto has been ranked among the top 1 percent of insurance companies nationwide, with more than 10,000 clients in those 30 years. Coto’s success helped Gunvalson become a member of the Million Dollar Round Table – which represents the top life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 70 countries. She continued to grow Coto during 16 salacious years on the hit show and subsequent celebrity projects. But it wasn’t just Coto that has earned Gunvalson praise and awards for her financial acumen. Licensed in every state not just as an insurance agent but also a retirement specialist, she has made it her mission to help people – especially women – become financially independent. She has partnered with Debt.com to help even more of them. “I’ve counseled thousands of Americans who experienced their own melodrama – over money,” Gunvalson says. “Debt.com is in some ways exactly like me – and in other ways, unlike me. We both care deeply about getting good people in better financial shape. But unlike me, they do it quietly!”

Published by Debt.com, LLC