New Zealand's largest private health insurer is reassuring members will get access to the latest breast cancer screening technology at no extra cost, after a report by the Herald on Sunday.
In September, Southern Cross came under fire for not approving tomosynthesis - new digital scanning which researchers say can help detect cancer 40 per cent earlier than a conventional mammogram.
Many private health insurers in New Zealand have already recognised the evidence behind tomosynthesis and include it in policies, including Accuro, Sovereign and nib. But Southern Cross had not approved it, despite private Kiwi clinics lobbying them for months.
Labour Party deputy leader Annette King followed up on the report by writing to Southern Cross, requesting the insurer explain its position.
And in a response to the Opposition health spokeswoman last month, the company revealed patients who are being told they need access to tomosynthesis are being granted it, without any top-up fees or further assessments.
Southern Cross insists its policy has not changed since September when it said in a statement that they "may be able to offer cover" on an ex-gratia basis.
But King says the letter she has been sent shows a clearer position.
"[Southern Cross] Health Society intends to add cover for diagnostic digital breast tomosynthesis as part of our annual benefit review process which next takes place in mid-2017," chief executive Peter Tynan wrote to King.
"However, until this time, the Health Society is providing ex-gratia coverage for members who have been recommended tomosynthesis."
King said the letter's contents were a positive thing for women all over New Zealand and represented a shift in the company's policy.
"Absolutely, I did actually show it when I met with the Breast Cancer Foundation a couple of days ago and they said it was fantastic," King said.
"The reply is what it is. If you hadn't raised the story, I probably wouldn't have even known about it.
"But this letter is good news."