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NEW bill takes effect Sunday


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Insurance companies will have to provide coverage for mammograms in legislation that goes into effect on Sunday.

Senate Bill 711 requires coverage for mammograms once a year for women, beginning at age 40, and every five years between 35 and 40, said Sen. Larry Dickerson, D-Poteau, Senate author of the bill.

Lawmakers found additional funds to enable Medicaid patients to be covered for mammograms under the same age guidelines, Dickerson said.

Rep. Jari Askins, House author of SB 711, said the measure will encourage more women to take advantage of yearly mammogram screenings.

``Currently, many women who qualify for mammogram coverage must schedule it for the same day as other yearly exams. That stipulation discourages some women from getting mammograms, so we've removed that requirement,'' Askins said.

Also, women who don't have private insurance and don't qualify for Medicare or Medicaid may still be eligible for the breast and cervical cancer screenings through county health departments, Askins, D-Duncan said.
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