Guthrie plastic surgeon reacts to new breast cancer insurance legislation

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Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 11:53 PM EDT
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(WBNG) - According to Governor Kathy Hochul’s press office in Albany, this Breast Cancer Awareness Month marked a first for New York. Legislation has been signed to ensure breast cancer survivors that choose to have chest reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy or partial mastectomy have proper insurance coverage.

A plastic surgeon with Guthrie, Michael Huntly, MD, FACS, reacted to the legislation signed to aid survivors with their recovery process.

“Losing a breast is a major psychological hit for these ladies,” said Huntly. “Reconstructing the breast, I think, is an essential part of the recovery phase of going through breast cancer treatment.”

When it comes to options, chest wall reconstruction and breast reconstruction will both be covered by insurance companies. “Not every lady wants to have that done, but at least they should have the option of doing it,” said Huntly. In the past, the press office in Albany stated many providers labeled chest wall reconstruction as a cosmetic surgery.

“Anything that facilitates restoring these women who have lost their breast to a normal anatomical situation I think is great,” said Huntly. “My feeling is the simplest technique that does a nice job is what we should go with. That’s how I tackle it.”

Huntly could see New York’s decision resulting in a ripple effect. “If one state you know makes a statement along those lines, I think other states are going to want to follow it,” he said. “I think patients that they insure are going to expect that that will happen in their state, too. But time will tell.”

New York Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said New York has made history and is now the first state in the U.S. to provide women with this extended coverage.