Cigna to require genetic counseling before gene tests related to cancers
A patient who has Cigna insurance now would consult a doctor before getting gene testing, such as a test for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes related to breast and ovarian cancers. The doctor would send data on the patient's personal history and family history of cancer, and Cigna would decide whether to allow the genetic testing.
Tens of thousands of Cigna's customers have received genetic testing, which is a new and evolving field. The most extensive testing can cost between $3,000 and $4,000, though other tests can be about $600. Cigna, however, expects that the money it will save from fewer people getting tests will break even with a greater cost to provide genetic counseling, Finley said.
"Our approach increases access to genetics specialists who have the training to ensure that every person seeking information about their genetic makeup and health risks receives the best and most personalized information available to get the most appropriate care," InformedDNA CEO David Nixon said in a prepared statement.
"What Cigna's doing is what everybody ought to do," he said. "We have a large number of women who are concerned that they have a mutation that puts them at risk of breast cancer, and a very small percent of them who actually do."
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