Mammograms for the Uninsured

It’s hard for anyone to think about the possibility of being diagnosed with any form of cancer.  But, what about thinking of preparing yourself, just in case, something happens. One of the first thoughts when buying a new car is paying for insurance, just in case. Same thing with buying a home – storm, fire, and flood – just in case. Now, what if you WANT to prepare yourself, just in case, but you don’t have the income or services in order to do so.

THREE pretty big obstacles:

  1. Deciding to prepare yourself for cancer.just in case.
  2. Trying to afford insurance – just in case.
  3. Finding the income to pursuit services to prepare yourself – just in case.


Uninsured women often face these three obstacles, and many times do not know where to turn.

Uninsured women [are] more likely than their insured counterparts to require a longer, more extensive chemotherapy regimen (find out more statistics from The Commonwealth Fund).

There are several organizations in the Indianapolis area that provide mammogram screenings to those without health insurance and living below the federal poverty. HealthNet is one of those organizations.

Last year, HealthNet provided mammogram screenings to uninsured women, as well as breast health education and outreach services with the hopes of overcoming the cultural, educational, social and financial barriers that prevent women from getting screened.

This education and outreach is vital because research shows that women without health insurance are less likely to get a mammogram screening. A report done in New York showed that uninsured women lag behind the insured when it comes to getting screened for breast cancer. City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, believes it is, “because uninsured women do not know enough about the resources that are out there for them.”

The American Cancer Society has put together an Indiana Mammography Facility Guide on their website that is a resource listing of facilities throughout the state offering screening services. In addition, a contact number is provided for those on Medicare and the uninsured that assists them with finding a designated site that will provide mammogram screenings if they can not afford this service.

Partnerships through St. Vincent’s Mobile Mammography Unit, Little Red Door Cancer Agency and HealthNet’s Health Centers exist to provide free mammograms to qualifying low-income or uninsured women in Indianapolis.  Together we are taking the steps needed to offer preventative and screening services to women in Indianapolis – just in case.

Uninsured women are less likely to be screened for breast cancer, causing their risk of dying form the disease to increase by 20 percent! Together we can give them a chance to fight breast cancer. Together we can close that gap.

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