Breast reconstruction is protected by law

Per the Women’s Health and Cancer Act of 1998, all stages of breast reconstruction are always covered by health insurance, ad infinitum. That means that if you decide to have reconstruction years after your mastectomy, or you’re unhappy with prior reconstruction and choose to revise it, insurance must cover your procedure.

Patients in the state of New York are also protected by legal language that prevents insurance companies from overturning any reconstructive surgery plans you and your doctor create together and ensures that insurance companies are thoughtful in their decisions concerning risk-reducing patients.

About the Women’s Health and Cancer Act of 1998

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) is a federal law passed on October 21, 1998 that protects patients who choose to have breast reconstruction at any point after a mastectomy. Despite its title, coverage is not limited to cancer patients. Any patient who has undergone a mastectomy for any reason is entitled to reconstruction under the law. Protections extend to all stages of reconstruction, including:

  • All reconstruction stages of a breast on which a mastectomy has been performed
  • Surgery and reconstruction on the opposite breast to improve symmetry
  • Prostheses and treatment of all complications of all stages of mastectomy, including lymphedema.

To learn more about the WHCRA, click here.