Monday, July 30, 2012

Insurance and Your Reconstruction Rights

Will my insurance cover my reconstruction??

This is a very important question for many women facing mastectomy. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998 is a federal mandate with protections for women who will have mastectomy because of a cancer diagnosis or other medical reasons. The WHCRA declares that if a group health plan covers a mastectomy, the plan must also provide reconstructive surgery and other post-mastectomy benefits for the patient, including procedures for the opposite (non-cancerous) breast to restore symmetry.
“Under WHCRA, group health plans, insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering mastectomy coverage also must provide coverage for certain services relating to the mastectomy in a manner determined in consultation with your attending physician and you. This required coverage includes all stages of reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed, surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance, prostheses and treatment of physical complications of the mastectomy, including lymphedema.(taken from U.S. Dept of Labor website)
The WHCRA is a complicated federal law and insurance plan requirements vary by state. A health plan should consider the patient's reconstruction of choice to be a covered benefit when the insurance covers mastectomy. Deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance requirements for reconstructive surgery must be consistent with other benefits offered in the health plan. Each patient should be sure to find out what their out-of-pocket costs will be after insurance coverage for reconstruction surgery is verified.
It is also a must for each patient to find out if their particular health plan is subject to this federal law. Find out more information by calling your health plan directly, your State Insurance Commissioner’s office or the US Department of Labor at their toll free number: 1- 866-487-2365.
Your reconstructive surgeon's office should be very experienced in billing health insurance for all stages of reconstructive surgery. Not only do you want a surgeon who routinely performs the reconstruction surgery of your choice, but also has exceptional office personnel and experience in billing insurance for these procedures.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Photos are on Facebook from C4YW 2012 NOLA!

Young survivors sharing and caring with other survivors is EMPOWERING! 

Breast Cancer Reconstruction Choices launched their first convention booth in New Orleans at C4YW 2012 and it was a smashing success! If you were there, you know our booth was THE place to be. You can check out all those amazing photos on our Facebook page: 

Be sure to like our Facebook page and tag yourself in the pictures. 
We will have contests through the end of March for the most likes, shares & comments on your photos (be sure to tell your friends!)

Thanks to C4YW (Conference for Young Women), YSC (Young Survivor Coalition) & LBBC (Living Beyond Breast Cancer) for putting together an amazing experience. We'll see you at C4YW in Seattle in 2013!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Thanks to Medline for the pink gloves, and thanks to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland Oregon for sharing this with the world. If this doesn't make you get up and dance (or at least smile), I don't know what will!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Breast Reconstruction?

Many times a breast cancer diagnosis comes with a crappy to do list which may include "get a mastectomy." After a doctor recommends mastectomy, trying to comprehend all of the medical decisions that need to be made can be overwhelming to say the least.

The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore the appearance of a natural breast when one is lost for medical reasons. Not every patient will elect to have reconstructive breast surgery, but every patient should at least consider her breast reconstruction options. Breast reconstruction can be an important part of rebuilding a women's self-esteem after losing a breast to cancer.

Although reconstruction can be done separately after mastectomy, even many years later, there are advantages to having the reconstruction process started at the same time as mastectomy. There are many options for reconstructing a breast. Make sure you are informed about all of them. A plastic surgeon performs breast reconstruction surgery. A patient should arrange for a consultation to discuss treatment options.

A cancer diagnosis means physical changes as well as emotional challenges. Although a cancer diagnosis can certainly send someone into a tailspin, it is important for a woman to take the time to fully understand her reconstructive options before deciding on her surgical care. This may not be easy since there are many factors to consider: the stage of breast cancer, overall health of patient, the size of natural breast, availability of tissue if considering a tissue-based reconstruction, ability to match other breast, recovery time needed, coordinating with chemotherapy and radiation therapy if necessary. Making the commitment to investigate reconstructive options as soon as possible can have a lasting benefit.

At BreastCancerReconstructionChoices, our goal is to educate and empower women facing mastectomy by providing information about breast reconstruction options. . Making the commitment to investigate reconstructive options as extensively as possible, can have lasting  benefits for mastectomy patients. We hope to assist survivors in this process by providing information and encouragement.
Our goal is to support each patient in their journey.
  • Empower
  • Educate
  • Advocate
 A good resource with a general overview of breast reconstruction is available from The American Society of Plastic Surgeons .