Clayton EW. Insurance Coverage Policies for Pharmacogenomic and Multi-Gene Testing for Cancer. Journal of personalized medicine. 2018 May;8(8). View on PubMed PMID: 29772692 [PubMed]
Insurance coverage policies are a major determinant of patient access to genomic tests. The objective of this study was to examine differences in coverage policies for guideline-recommended pharmacogenomic tests that inform cancer treatment. We analyzed coverage policies from eight Medicare contractors and 10 private payers for 23 biomarkers (e.g., and ) and multi-gene tests. We extracted policy coverage and criteria, prior authorization requirements, and an evidence basis for coverage. We reviewed professional society guidelines and their recommendations for use of pharmacogenomic tests. Coverage for , , and tests were common across Medicare contractors and private payers, but few policies covered , , or . Thirteen payers cover multi-gene tests for nonsmall lung cancer, citing emerging clinical recommendations. Coverage policies for single and multi-gene tests for cancer treatments are consistent among Medicare contractors despite the lack of national coverage determinations. In contrast, coverage for these tests varied across private payers. Patient access to tests is governed by prior authorization among eight private payers. Substantial variations in how payers address guideline-recommended pharmacogenomic tests and the common use of prior authorization underscore the need for additional studies of the effects of coverage variation on cancer care and patient outcomes.