(Maryland advocates after testifying on behalf of House Bill 852 at the Maryland State House in Feb. 2020)
ZERO Cost to Prostate Cancer Screening
With a new effort, ZERO Cost to Prostate Cancer Screening, we are encouraging state governments to increase parity for prostate cancer screening.
Early detection continues to be the most effective means to saving lives from prostate cancer. However, few states offer screening without requiring cost-sharing on the behalf of patients. Our bold goal with this initiative is to expand prostate cancer screening mandates to half the country with 25 states by 2030.
The Promise of Parity and Meeting Unmet Patient Need
This new legislative effort aims to give prostate cancer parity to several other cancers which offer screenings with no attached co-pays or other cost-sharing fees. It’s urgent that we inspire legislation that will make prostate cancer screening free and accessible to all men. Early screening is the best preventative measure against the disease, which often presents no symptoms.
When the disease is detected early, survival rates are close to 100 percent. But when the disease is detected late, chances of survival fall to only 30 percent. The need for increased access to testing without sharing is critical because:
- The prevalence of prostate cancer means the disease needs parity with other cancers for affordable and accessible preventative screenings
- 99 Percent of patients survive the disease if detected early
- Fewer men are getting tested than ever before
- 2020 will see the highest number of prostate cancer deaths since the start of the millennia
- African American men are more than twice as likely to die because of lack of access to testing and care
Making Testing Free: Early Wins
New York: In January 2019, New York became the first state in the country to pass a law that supports full insurance coverage of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, which helps determine prostate cancer risk. Learn more.
Maryland: In early 2020, ZERO and local advocates in Maryland helped pass a bill at the Maryland State House (shown above) that will remove prostate cancer screening cost-sharing for men ages 40-75 in the state. With prostate cancer being the most diagnosed male-only cancer in the state, this legislation has the power to catch the disease early and save lives and prevent any financial barriers to care. The law went into effect in January 2021. Read editorials from legislators and patients in support of this effort, and learn more.
Rhode Island: In April 2021, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed legislation that would eliminate cost-sharing for prostate cancer screening. Under this new benefit, men in Rhode Island will not pay any out-of-pocket costs for prostate cancer screening received from an in-network provider beginning on January 1, 2022.
New Jersey: On June 9, 2022, the New Jersey Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on Bill S-791. The bill, introduced by State Senator Troy Singleton, would remove cost barriers such as copays and deductibles for prostate cancer screenings in New Jersey, including follow-up testing. The Commerce Committee approved THE bill unanimously and it will now be moved along in the legislative process.
Illinois: On June 10, 2022 Illinois Governor Pritzker signed into law HB 5318. It was introduced by State Representative La Shawn K. Ford and passed both chambers in late April. HB 5318 will save the lives of countless men in Illinois, and is a major win for all of us.
Patient and caregiver stories make a difference! We need your voice to help improve access to testing without cost-sharing. By sharing your story, you’ll help:
- Provide context to strengthen screening and incidence data
- Give personal narratives that demonstrate the need to remove financial barriers to screening
- Be part of a passionate and powerful community of advocates
ZERO’s state-by-state strategy to zero out costs for prostate cancer screening is now focused on California and Texas with additional states to come. Sign up for advocacy alerts to get involved and join us to pass legislation in state governments nationwide that promotes accessibility and affordability of prostate cancer screenings.
Contact Ali Manson, Vice President, Government Relations and Advocacy.