Hologic’s Acessa procedure is now covered by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the second largest health plan in the United States. Anthem has updated its medical policy to cover Radiofrequency Ablation (LAP-RFA), which includes the Acessa procedure for women suffering from uterine fibroids. The updated policy creates access to uterine-preserving care for Anthem’s approximately 40 million members in all 50 states, providing a safe and effective alternative for millions of women who otherwise might have to resort to unwanted hysterectomies.
The Acessa procedure is a minimally invasive, outpatient treatment designed to treat women with symptomatic uterine fibroids and is clinically proven with long-term data as a safe alternative to hysterectomy and myomectomy.
Anthem’s updated medical policy says the use of laparoscopic or transcervical radiofrequency ablation as a treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids (e.g. excessive uterine bleeding or pelvic discomfort caused by uterine fibroids) is considered medically necessary when uterine preservation is desired, fibroids are less than 10 cm in any diameter and uterine size does not exceed 16 weeks gestation.
“Women’s health issues remain chronically underserved and this has never been more apparent than with the millions of women living with uterine fibroids,” said Essex Mitchell, Division President GYN Surgical Solutions, Hologic. “Anthem’s decision will create significantly greater access to options that align with the strong preferences many women and their physicians have for safe and effective treatment that enables both symptom relief and uterine preservation.”
An estimated 11 million women in the United States are currently diagnosed with uterine fibroids, with an additional 3.7 million undiagnosed women self-identified as having symptoms suggestive of uterine fibroids. Up to 80% of women are diagnosed with uterine fibroids by the age of 50. Women with symptomatic uterine fibroids often fear losing their uterus because of hysterectomy but are either not offered or able to afford non-reimbursed alternative treatment options. This leaves too many women heavily burdened by their fibroid symptoms, leading to a reduced quality of life.4 Black women are disproportionately affected by fibroids, making access to fibroid treatment a key focus in the effort to address racial disparities in healthcare.
“I have personally treated dozens of women who wanted this treatment but had to choose another option because it was not covered by their insurance,” said Dr. Soyini Hawkins, a minimally invasive gynecologist who founded and leads the Fibroid and Pelvic Center of Georgia. “Anthem’s decision is fantastic and will not only improve the health outcomes for women but also enable their preferences to be honored.”