November 25, 2009

Missouri Department of Insurance: mammograms are covered by health insurance

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance says the debate over the recent study on mammograms will not impact health insurance coverage for these screenings for Missouri women. State law requires all licensed health insurers to pay the cost of mammograms for women starting at age 35.

"The discussion of when and how often to have mammograms is one women should have with their doctors," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP).""But Missouri women should know that the recent research has no effect on state consumer protection laws, which require insurance coverage for mammograms."

Missouri law requires insurers cover mammograms for women:

  • Once from age 35 to 39
  • Once every two years between ages 40 and 49
  • Annually from 50 and up
  • At any age if ordered by a doctor, based on family history of breast cancer

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently changed its recommendations regarding the age at which women should begin receiving mammograms and the frequency of mammograms thereafter. Its new recommendations suggest mammograms should begin at age 50 for most women, rather than the previous recommendation of age 40. Other medical organizations believe the previous recommendation should stand.

Other cancer screenings for women required to be covered by Missouri law include pelvic exams and Pap smears, according to American Cancer Society guidelines.

Women with questions about coverage for screenings, or others consumers with questions or complaints about their insurance can contact the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or visit

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals.  The department's seven divisions work to maintain consumer confidence by examining and monitoring industries and professions and by establishing coherent and evolving policies.  DIFP works to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.