Early detection is a key factor in the successful treatment of breast cancer, but the cost of screenings often becomes a roadblock to women seeking preventative services. The average cost of a mammogram in Indiana is a little under $100, but it’s not hard to find providers charging $200 or more. Often times, women forced to choose between paying the bills or doing a preventative screening, you can hardly fault the choice to focus on immediate necessitates.
According to the Susan G. Komen foundation, the main reasons women bypass breast cancer screenings is because they do not have insurance to help cover the cost, and uninsured women are more than two times as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage of the disease than women with insurance. Fortunately, there are a number of organizations in Indianapolis helping women in need to find free or low-cost mammograms. In honor of breast cancer awareness month, we have pulled together information on these services.
Little Red Door Cancer Agency
The Little Red Door Cancer Agency offers financial assistance for clinical breast exams, mammograms, and other diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured or underinsured women. Their goal is to reduce the physical, emotional and financial burdens of cancer prevention and treatment that our city’s most vulnerable residents face. If there is a service that they do not offer, this organization will be happy to point patients in the right direction, and will even assist individuals looking to apply for health insurance. Learn more by contacting Little Red Door Cancer Agency at 317-925-5595 or by visiting their website here.
Indiana State Department of Health
Uninsured or underinsured Indiana residents over the age of 50 (for mammograms) or 30 (for breast exams) may take advantage of the Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Program at the Indiana State Department of Health. This program provides free mammograms and diagnostic breast care services to individuals who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. If cancer is detected, this program helps women to apply for Indiana Medicaid (MA-12) to obtain coverage until treatment is complete. For more information call 317.233.7901 or learn more about the program online here.
St. Vincent Hospital Indianapolis
The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s National Mammography Program works with medical facilities across the country to provide free mammograms and diagnostic breast care services to women in need. Here in Indianapolis, the foundation has a partnership with St. Vincent Breast Center to provide screening and diagnostic mammograms to uninsured and underinsured women at various Indianapolis locations. You can call 317.338.9566 or click here to learn more about this partnership.
Gennesaret Free Clinic
Gennesaret Free Clinic, a health initiative serving Marion County, offers early detection services for breast cancer, including mammograms and breast exams, to the homeless and others who are unable to afford services. Services are offered by appointment only. Contact Lisa Hayes at 317-639-5645, ext. 202 or visit their website for more information.
If you are women over age 40 with health insurance, you are likely eligible to receive free preventative screenings from your healthcare provider. The affordable care act introduced 10 preventative health benefits that insurance providers must cover, and one of those services are mammograms. These mammograms are available at no cost to you. Even if you are uninsured, your doctor would be a good resource that may help you find low-cost services in your community. You may learn more about preventative care provided by the affordable care act by contacting your insurance provider or by visiting healthcare.gov.
You can find a complete list of locations offering mammogram services here.
Keshia McEntire is a freelance writer residing in Indianapolis, IN. You may find her online at keshiamcentire.wordpress.com or on Twitter @keshiamc12.