Has your health plan seen an increase in demand for genetic cancer screening? Researchers call it the “Angelina Effect.” In 2013, Angelina Jolie encouraged women to consider genetic testing when she publicly shared her decision to undergo a double mastectomy after going through genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer. Then earlier this year, Jolie announced she had also had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. Health plans subject to the ACA’s preventive services requirements are required to cover a breast and ovarian cancer (BRCA) risk assessment and genetic counseling/testing for women whose family history is associated with an increased risk. A growing number of individuals don’t think the ACA requirement goes far enough. But some of the nation’s largest insurers are refusing to pay for panel testing, while researchers argue that progress can’t occur unless we a start collecting this genetic information. One large insurer has decided to cover the panel tests for those with a family history claiming the risk of cancer in the long run will cost a lot more than the $2,000-$5,000 it costs for a panel test. As you plan for 2016, this would be a good time to review how your plan covers genetic cancer screening.
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