DeSantis enacts free skin cancer screenings for state employees

by | Apr 8, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis has enacted a law requiring annual, cost-free skin cancer screenings for over 300,000 state employees and their dependents.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Friday mandating annual skin cancer screenings for more than 300,000 state employees and their families at no out-of-pocket cost.

The law, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Massullo, a dermatologist by trade, stipulates that the state group health insurance plan managed by the Division of State Group Insurance must cover skin cancer screenings conducted by dermatologists, physician assistants, or advanced registered practice nurses, without requiring deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or any other form of cost-sharing.

Moreover, the legislation prohibits insurers from bundling payments for skin cancer screenings with any other procedure or service. The measure passed both the Florida House and Senate unanimously.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and skin cancer deaths represent five percent of all cancer deaths. Over 9,600 new cases of skin cancer in Florida are diagnosed every year; however, the long term survival rates of those diagnosed early are high,” a House legislative analysis states.

A similar bill filed last year in the House of Representatives by a bipartisan coalition failed to make it through the legislative process, unable to advance beyond the second reading calendar, despite being voted on favorably in the Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee, Appropriations Committee, and the Health & Human Services Committee.

In September, Sen. Gayle Harrell filed a companion bill in the Senate. In a conversation with The Capitolist, she expressed that this legislation, aimed at providing easier access to cancer screenings, represents the culmination of a long-term effort.

“I can say that there’s going to be a big, major conversation on what we need to do at the state level to promote the health and wellbeing of our citizens,” she said

Florida ranks second in the nation for new melanoma cases, with an estimated 7,940 cases in the state out of 91,270 diagnosed in the entire United States in 2018. Approximately one in ten Floridians have been informed of a skin cancer diagnosis, totaling 9.2 percent of its population. More broadly speaking, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States after heart disease and in 2023, a total of 1.9 million new cancer cases were diagnosed. Of the estimated new cancer cases in the United States, five percent were skin cancer cases, According to the National Cancer Society.


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