On Friday 1st April, in Washington D.C., the bill HB7322 was introduced to the House to require coverage for scalp cooling under group health plans and group and individual health insurance coverage, specified Federal health care programs, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
The legislation was introduced by House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro and would require all health insurers to provide coverage for scalp cooling treatments for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced alopecia for cancer patients.
Congresswoman DeLauro, herself a thirty-four-year cancer survivor commented,
”Hair loss is one of the most feared side effects for men and women diagnosed with cancer. Because most cancer patients’ insurance does not cover scalp cooling therapy, they are forced to make a choice between incurring significant debt and therapy that can preserve the mental well-being and sense of normalcy during their fight with cancer.”
“I was stunned when my constituent, Roberta, who has made a tremendous – and oftentimes anonymous—impact on the individuals whose scalp cooling therapy her organization has paid for, highlighted the barriers individuals face to receive scalp cooling therapy. That is why I have introduced the Access to Scalp Cooling Therapy Act to ensure all individuals get the insurance coverage they deserve and the opportunity to keep their hair and focus on their battle with cancer.”
Roberta Lombardi, President and Founder of Infinite Strength, a Connecticut nonprofit that provides financial assistance to underserved, underinsured single mothers with Metastatic Breast Cancer (Stage IV) met with Congresswoman DeLauro to discuss the need for changes to legislation regarding scalp cooling in early 2020. Roberta comments,
“Many people who have not experienced a cancer diagnosis feel seeking scalp cooling treatment to prevent chemotherapy induced alopecia is for the sake of vanity, but they could not be more wrong. Retaining one’s hair during cancer treatment allows the patient to also retain their dignity and their privacy! In addition, cancer treatment is incredibly expensive and insurance coverage is very often not adequate, which means quality cancer care is less affordable for much of the population. The ability to access scalp cooling without having to go into further financial debt will allow all patients to have a degree of control over a disease that inflicts a variety of devastating long-term side effects—physically, physically, emotionally, and financially—that are beyond their control. We are forever grateful to Congresswoman DeLauro for her support and unwavering commitment to creating change for a more positive healthcare experience for all!”
The bill text is available here.
The next step for the bill is a vote by the full House Committee. It will then be considered by the Senate and the House of Representatives. If passed, the bill will require final approval by The President before it is signed into law.