Can You Afford Genetic Breast Cancer Testing & Surgery? (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose

May 15, 2013 Updated May 15, 2013 at 5:40 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie topped headlines around the world when she announced she'd had a preventive double-mastectomy based on her genetic liklihood of developing breast cancer.

If your family history warrants the test, your insurance most likely will cover it.

If you want the test just out of curiosity, be prepared to pay the $4,000 out of pocket.

Costs can vary widely for a double mastectomy, based on your surgeon and where you live.

If you have breast cancer, your insurance will most likely cover the costs associated with removing your breast tissue as well as reconstructive surgery.

In Angelina Jolie's case, she said the genetic test showed she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer, so she opted to have her breasts removed.

You would need to check with your insurance company to see if the surgical procedures would be covered, which could cost $25,000 to $100,000.

"I've heard a lot of people saying insurance doesn't cover it or well, if I'm not rich like Angelina Jolie, I can't afford to do this. But in my experience, insurance has been really good at covering this if you meet enough of those factors. And if you don't meet enough of those factors then maybe you don't need to worry about this anyway," says Melissa Dempsey, a genetic counselor.

If you don't have insurance, most hospitals will negotiate a reduced price if you pay out of pocket, and there are some grants available if you meet income guidelines.

You'd have to do a lot of research before deciding whether to have the surgery and where to go.




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