Proposed Senate bill would require health insurers to cover skin cancer screenings

by | Sep 28, 2023

  • A bill introduced in the Florida Senate would require health insurance policies to cover annual skin cancer screenings for individuals, groups, and health maintenance contracts without imposing deductibles or other costs.
  • Payments for screenings would be standardized to align with American Medical Association guidelines, and insurers would be prohibited from bundling payments for skin cancer screenings with other medical procedures or services.
  • Florida has a relatively high rate of melanoma cases, ranking second in the nation.

A bill filed in the Florida Senate on Wednesday, if adopted, would mandate health insurance policies to cover annual skin cancer screenings.

The measure, introduced by Sen. Gayle Harrell, applies to individual health insurance policies, group health insurance policies, and health maintenance contracts. Under the proposal, melanoma screenings must be covered without imposing deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or any other cost-sharing requirements.

Moreover, payments for screenings would be required to align with rates for other preventive measures as defined by the American Medical Association’s Current Procedural Terminology code set. The legislation would also prohibit insurers from bundling payments for skin cancer screenings with other medical procedures or services.

“[The legislation] would require that insurers would pay for screenings,” Harrell told The Capitolist on Thursday. “Whatever the negotiated rates are with their various providers, it would be the normal payment that they have negotiated for the screenings. It would not be co-pay, it would be part of your package and you would have to have prior authorization. It would not impose a deductible or a co-payment in order to do it. It would be just like we do for mammograms and prostate cancer screenings.”

A similar bill filed in the state House of Representatives by a bipartisan coalition last year failed to make it through the legislative process, failing 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.

This year’s set of legislation, however, will play into the anticipated focus on healthcare policy during the forthcoming Legislative Session. Harrell further expects Rep. Ralph Massullo to file a companion bill in the House.

“This year we’re going to put an emphasis on Live Healthy,” said Harrell. “The Senate President has really been focused on it. Last year we were focused on Live Local and this year we’re going to be focusing on Live Healthy. I don’t have her specific endorsement of the bill, but 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.”

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.


%d bloggers like this: