Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program?
The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) offers free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to eligible women. Funded cooperatively by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health, the program was created to provide breast and cervical cancer screening and referrals to low- income, uninsured women. Since the program was launched in Illinois in 1995, more than 66,000 women have been screened for breast and cervical cancers.
In 2000, the U.S. Congress enacted the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act. The Illinois General Assembly followed with similar legislation in May 2001, which was signed into law effective in July 2001. Since August 1, 2001, the IBCCP has been referring enrolled women to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services for health benefits for cancer treatment at no cost for eligible women. The Treatment Act Expansion, beginning September 1, 2006, now allows women diagnosed outside of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program to receive health benefits for treatment of breast or cervical cancer, or a precancerous cervical condition.
Who is eligible for this program?
Women who –
What are the income limits?
Women who meet the following income limits are eligible to participate in the IBCCP.
If a woman is receiving Medicaid, can she still enroll in the program?
No. Only women who are not Medicaid-eligible but who meet IBCCP requirements may enroll.
How do women enroll?
To enroll in the IBCCP program, women are to call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s, toll free Women’s Health-Line at 888- 522-1282. The Women’s Health-Line staff will refer women to the respective lead agency. Screening and diagnostic services are coordinated through the lead agency. To find the IBCCP lead agency for your county, use our county map by clicking here.
Where are the breast and cervical screenings done?
The screenings are provided through health facilities around the state that are under contract with the respective lead agency. To find the IBCCP lead agency for your county, use our county map by clicking here.
Who performs the screening exams?
The IBCCP lead agency (to find the IBCCP lead agency for your county, use our county map by clicking here ) will set up appointments for women with local hospitals, doctors and clinics who will provide the services to enrolled women.
What other kinds of assistance does the IBCCP program provide to participating women?
Local nurses and professional staff will help enrolled women by scheduling screenings, explaining screening results and answering any questions. These same nurses and professional staff will immediately refer women needing treatment for breast cancer, cervical cancer and precancerous cervical conditions to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Why is the IBCCP program emphasizing increased enrollment for older African-American women?
While the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program is open to women of all races who are 35-64 years of age, it is specifically interested in enrolling low-income, African-American women, ages 50-64. Recent studies have shown African-American women, older women and low-income women to be at higher risk of dying from breast and cervical cancer. The high mortality from breast and cervical cancer among these women and their low participation in screening efforts make this group an important one to target.
Does the IBCCP offer any treatment options or is it geared solely toward preventive care?
IBCCP was created as a way to reduce breast and cervical cancer mortality by providing quality screening and diagnostic services that promote early detection. Prior to passage of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act in 2000, there was no mechanism to cover treatment costs for women whose cancers were found through IBCCP screening. Until September 1, 2006, only women enrolled in the IBCCP, who were diagnosed with cancer through the program’s screenings and tests, were eligible to receive health benefits for treatment through the state’s Medicaid system managed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Effective September 1, 2006, under the health benefits for treatment any woman (regardless of enrollment with IBCCP) diagnosed with breast cancer, cervical cancer and/or precancerous cervical conditions, who meets the eligibility criteria, can be referred for Health Benefits for treatment. For additional information on the September 1, 2006, initiative please visit www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov
If a woman has already been diagnosed with breast caner, cervical cancer or precancerous cervical conditions, can she receive free treatment under the health benefits for persons with breast or cervical cancer?
Yes. Effective September 1, 2006, under the Healthcare Benefits for Persons with Breast or Cervical Cancer Act, any woman diagnosed with breast cancer, cervical cancer and/or a precancerous cervical condition, who meets the eligibility criteria, can be referred for health benefits for treatment. For additional information on the September 1, 2006, initiative please visit www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov
How will women, diagnosed with these conditions, know if they qualify for the health benefits for treatment?
Once a medical provider diagnoses a woman with breast or cervical cancer or a precancerous cervical condition, his/her office staff will help the woman complete all the necessary paper work to be submitted with the application titled: APPLICATION for Health Benefits for Persons with Breast or Cervical Cancer ( HFS 2378BCX (N-09-06)) . To obtain and download this form click here. The application must be signed by the medical provider and the woman before submitting it to the local IBCCP lead agency. To find the IBCCP lead agency for your county, use our county map by clicking here.
What if a woman does not meet the criteria for health benefits for treatment?
If a woman does not qualify for health benefits for treatment, she will be notified immediately and will be instructed to contact her medical provider to arrange for appropriate care.For additional information, call the Women’s Health-Line toll free at 888-522-1282, or TTY (hearing impaired use only) at 800-547-0466.