Breast cancer is associated with a multitude of risk factors, such as genetic predisposition and mutations, family history, personal medical history, or previous radiotherapy. A prophylactic mastectomy (PM) may be considered a suitable risk-reducing procedure in some cases. However, there are significant discrepancies between national society recommendations and insurance company requirements for PM.
The authors conducted a cross-sectional analysis of insurance policies for a PM. One-hundred companies were selected based on the greatest state enrolment and market share. Their policies were identified through a Web-based search and telephone interviews, and their medical necessity criteria were extracted.
Preauthorized coverage of PMs was provided by 39% of insurance policies (n = 39) and 5 indications were identified. There was consensus amongst these policies to cover a PM for BRCA1/2 mutations (n = 39, 100%), but was more variable for other genetic mutations (15%-90%). Coverage of PM for the remaining indications varied among insurers: previous radiotherapy (92%), pathological changes in the breast (3%-92%), personal history of cancer (64%) and family history risk factors (39%-51%).
There is a marked level of variability in both the indications and medical necessity criteria for PM insurance policies. The decision to undergo a PM must be carefully considered with a patient's care team and should not be affected by insurance coverage status.