Shift represents growing understanding of value of genetic testing for cancers. Find out who is receiving the test and why.
In what is said to be a first-of-its-kind move, a large independent national insurance marketing organization will offer a complimentary cancer genomic profile to consumers through its partner broker general agents (BGAs).
The offer will allow BGAs affiliated with LifeMark Partners to initially provide 250,000 Americans, who purchased new life insurance policies, with instant complimentary access for one year to Wamberg Genomic Advisors’ Cancer Guardian program. The Cancer Guardian Program can help personalize cancer treatment through comprehensive cancer genomic profiling. It identifies mutations found in a patient’s tumor, or blood sample, that can better guide them to more optimal treatments that are associated with more favorable outcomes.
Depending upon a person’s age, the program is then priced from $8 to $15 per month from that point on-dependents under the age of 26 are included for the first year, and other family members can also be added for regular pricing to this program.
“The American Society of Clinical Oncology is one professional organization noting that genomic testing is feasible. It can guide more effective treatments, including targeted therapies, immunotherapies and relevant clinical trials,” says Tom Wamberg, president & CEO of Wamberg Genomic Advisors.
High-throughput genomics could improve outcomes in a subset of patients with hard-to-treat cancers, according to a prospective 2017 clinical trial evaluating the clinical benefit of this approach, published in Cancer Discovery. The study showed that half of cancers have actionable genetic mutations that are potentially treatable with targeted cancer drugs that currently exist.
When obtaining these comprehensive genomic tests outside of Wamberg Genomic Advisors’ program, costs exceed $7,000 and are not covered by health insurance in most cases, according to Wamberg.
“If the patient needs more than one or two tests-that’s a big expense when it is not reimbursed.
We are filling a gap to assure these tests are accessible and affordable. Under current healthcare cost-containment practices, oncologists can be hesitant to initiate testing if it is not covered by healthcare reimbursement and the patient does not have the means, even though they believe in the efficacy.”
Although Wamberg believes that there is a clear path to genetic test reimbursement and the price tags on the tests may eventually come down, “now a healthcare executive can say there’s an affordable way for you to get these tests,” he says.
The genomic profiling tests paid for by the Cancer Guardian Program apply to cancer diagnosed after the date of an individual’s program participation. Any testing requested for a cancer diagnosis prior to the effective date of program participation are not included in the standard program charges and require a per incidence testing charge.