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How Can Patients Combat the Cost of Sophisticated Blood Tests?

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Published on April 16, 2019

Patient Power community member Darrel wants to know how cancer patients can access the necessary diagnostic and genetic tests to receive the most precise care available. Tune in to hear noted expert Dr. Richard Schilsky respond by discussing typical insurance coverage and research on the best use of genetic profiling.

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Transcript | How Can Patients Combat the Cost of Sophisticated Blood Tests?

Now, where it gets a little bit uncertain is when you get into this sort of large-scale genomic testing where a patient's tumor might be tested for many hundreds of genes not really knowing what you're looking for and not really knowing what you're going to do when you find it.  And that is where you're beginning to bump up a little bit against, research and that's where the insurance companies, sometimes some are reluctant to pay for that kind of testing. 

Now, at least one of those large genomic profiling tests earlier this year was approved by both the FDA and Medicare and now will be reimbursed.  So that's the good news, and I think that's the direction that most insurance companies are heading in. 

One of the things that my organization is doing to try to understand how best to use these tests and how best to use targeted cancer drugs is we're doing our own clinical trial that's available in 20 states around the country, so not the entire country yet, but has already enrolled more than 1200 people on the study over the last two-and-a-half years.  And we're doing this study to understand how this kind of genomic testing is done, what kind of treatment is recommended based on the results of the genomic test and whether or not that treatment actually works.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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