This Mother’s Day, LincolnHealth wants women and moms of all ages to remember to take care of themselves too. Programs are available to make recommended screenings affordable when cost is an issue.
“When patients come in who are several years past due for a mammogram, they often tell us that they were putting their health care needs off due to the cost. They didn’t want to spend the money on themselves or were busy caring for other members of their family,” commented LincolnHealth Breast Care Coordinator Sandy Holmes. “But your personal health care isn’t something you should put off, no matter how busy you are, and there are programs available that can help with the cost.”
One financial assistance program is the Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Health Program, explained LincolnHealth Financial Counselor Pat Simmonds. “Mammograms, Pap tests, pelvic exams, and more is completely free through this program. Many patients incorrectly think they won’t qualify for financial assistance, but the income limits for this program are quite generous.”
To qualify, household income for a one-person household must be at or below $30,350, $41,150 for a two-person household, $51,950 for a three-person household, and $62,750 for a four-person household (for each additional person, add $10,800). Other qualifications include being a Maine woman over the age of 40 with no health insurance, high-deductible insurance, or health insurance that does not cover mammograms or Pap tests.
MaineHealth’s free care program also cover mammograms, Pap tests, and other necessary care. This program may also cover care for the entire family with guidelines at 175% of the federal poverty level.
“We are always here to help you get the care you need,” explained Simmonds. “LincolnHealth has two financial counselors on the Miles campus and one on the St. Andrews Campus. If you don’t qualify for the programs mentioned previously, we offer payment plans and prompt payment discounts.”
Early detection is extremely important. “Regular Pap tests and mammograms help find cervical or breast cancer early when successful treatment is more likely,” explained Lincoln Medical Partners Obstetrician and Gynecologist Deborah Eisenberg, MD.
“Cervical cancer screening identifies pre-cancerous cells so that they can be treated before they have a chance to turn into cervical cancer,” commented Certified Nurse Midwife Stacey Rees.
The American Cancer Society recommends women at average risk for breast cancer begin having yearly mammograms at age 45; although they can start at age 40 if they choose. Women at age 55 can switch to having mammograms every other year. Regular mammograms should continue for as long as a woman is in good health. Women at high risk should begin screening earlier and/or more often. Please talk to your primary care physician about your risk and the plan that is best for you.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin cervical cancer screening at age 21. Pap tests should be done every three or five years depending on the age of the patient. Please discuss what age you should stop having pap tests with your primary care provider.
“We hope this friendly reminder encourages you and the women in your life to stay up to date on annual screenings and the care recommended by your primary care physician,” Holmes added.
To schedule an appointment at the Lincoln Medical Partners Women’s Center please call 207-563-4700. To schedule an appointment at Ragiology/Mammography on either campus, please call 207-563-4233.
To discuss financial assistance programs that you may qualify for, please call the LincolnHealth – Miles Campus Financial Counselors Pat Simmonds at 207-563-4534 or Eddie Martz at 207-563-4513 or the St. Andrews Campus Financial Counselor Karen Nickerson at 207-633-8413.