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Hereditary Cancer Info > Privacy & Legal Issues > Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998


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Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998

There are laws that protect the rights of people with an inherited mutation or hereditary cancer.

The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act

The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act requires insurance companies that cover the cost for mastectomy to also cover the following services after mastectomy:

  • breast prostheses
  • breast reconstruction
  • surgery to the other breast to achieve a symmetrical appearance
  • treatment for complications from mastectomy or reconstruction

The law applies to anyone who had mastectomies due to a cancer diagnosis and women who had mastectomy to reduce their risk for developing cancer. Note that even with insurance coverage there still may be cost to the patient. Many people still have large out-of-pocket expenses, and copays and deductibles may apply.  Use of in-network versus out-of-network providers can play a large part in these fees.  Consult with your health insurance company and surgeons to understand the costs involved.

If you have questions regarding your WHCRA rights, visit the website of the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. To order publications or request assistance from a benefits advisor, contact EBSA electronically at askebsa.dol.gov or call toll free 1-866-444-3272.

Updated 05/25/2016

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