SALISBURY, Md. - Four years ago, Claudia Phillipson received life-changing news.
It's a day, she says, she won't soon forget. While undergoing a routine mammogram, doctors diagnosed her with ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, a pre-invasive stage of breast cancer.
Phillipson, now 66, said she was afraid of what was going to happen next. One of her questions: will her insurance cover everything?
Luckily, Phillipson had insurance, but not everyone does. According to the American Cancer Society, among uninsured women over 40, only 17 percent received a mammogram.
Among those with insurance, 55 percent had the test.
"You walk away from that initial meeting or diagnosis from receiving the diagnosis very, very scared," said Lisa Barnes, a social work navigator at the Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute for Peninsula Regional Medical Center. "You have to get a lot of tests to do some screening and a lot of times people can not afford those tests."
Under the new healthcare law, women with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage, meaning mammograms are covered across the board for women over 40.
"They are going to get a plan based on age, demographics, where they live and that's it," said Chris Carroll, the vice president of benefits at Atlantic, Smith, Croppher & Deeley, an insurance agency in Williards, Md.
"Just knowing that having the pre-existing condition and being covered, it has to be a huge relief," said Phillipson.
Phillipson said she underwent 33 sessions of radiation back in 2009. She's now cancer-free.