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Karcher/Weinberg Bill Would Require Health Insurers To Cover Hpv Vaccine

TRENTON – Senators Ellen Karcher and Loretta Weinberg have recently introduced a measure that would require insurers and State health care coverage programs to cover the cost of vaccines for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer.

Human Papillomavirus can cause abnormal cells on the lining of the cervix that, if left untreated, can turn into cancer. Other types of the virus can lead to genital warts.

“As the daughter of a cancer victim, I know the importance of hope — hope that we will someday be able to cure cancer in any form it may take,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “In the case of cervical cancer, we have our first best shot at eliminating this disease through the preventative measure of getting inoculated with the human papillomavirus vaccine. It would be unconscionable to deny this treatment to anyone who may benefit. Health insurers need to step up and ensure access to their policy holders.”

“HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6.2 million people are infected with the virus each year. This vaccine is absolutely necessary to help prevent the spread of this potentially fatal disease.”

The Senators’ measure, S-2284, would require all health insurers in New Jersey to provide coverage for the FDA-approved HPV vaccine.

Recently, the FDA approved Gardasil, a vaccine that has proven to be effective against the two types of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancers and the two types of HPV that cause 90% of genital warts cases. The vaccine was designed to be used for females ages nine to 26 to help prevent HPV.

This measure now awaits a vote by the Senate Commerce Committee.

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