PRESS RELEASE: ST. PETERSBURG, FL (October 9, 2013) – Women who are concerned about their risk for breast cancer will find good news in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which some call Obamacare. The law requires insurers to pay for genetic counseling for women at increased risk for breast or ovarian cancer without any cost-sharing for the patient. Testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is also covered under the ACA for women with a qualifying family history. Though a small percentage of breast cancer cases are caused by these genetic mutations, this new coverage makes it possible for millions to understand their risk, and their options.
“Soon many more women will have access to genetic counseling and testing services that will help deliver the promise of personalized medicine,” said Amber Trivedi, M.S., C.G.C., who leads genetics educational initiatives for physicians and patients at InformedDNA. “In addition to genetic testing, these women will have access to genetic counselors who will inform them about the benefits and limitations of their medical options, and facilitate informed decision making about breast cancer risk reduction. The majority of women do not have a BRCA gene mutation, but family history still places many who test negative at high risk for breast cancer. It’s important that these women understand what increased screening is appropriate for them, despite negative genetic test results.”
The number of genetic tests on the market has expanded tenfold since the early 1990s, to nearly 3,000. As awareness and availability of genetic testing becomes widespread, genetic counselors are needed to help the public make informed decisions about their healthcare options.
Trivedi said that while the new Affordable Care Act coverage is important, there are conditions and circumstances that are not covered by the law, such as prophylactic surgery for women found to be at elevated breast cancer risk and genetic counseling and testing of men concerned about breast cancer.
InformedDNA is the largest independent U.S. provider of genetic counseling services. In addition to direct patient care, the privately-held genetics specialist network provides consultative services to health plans, employers, medical centers, ancillary healthcare companies, government and other agencies seeking to better understand genomic health and its implications for their organizations and the healthcare system overall.
Contact: Meredith Becker