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Photo courtesy of Independence Blue Cross
Photo courtesy of Independence Blue Cross

IBX to cover next-gen cancer testing

The insurer will team up with a California-based health tech firm.

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Philadelphia-based health insurer Independence Blue Cross announced Monday that it will begin to cover whole genome sequencing for some cancer treatments.

In an agreement with NanHealth, a healthcare tech research company based out of Culver City, Calif., Independence will open up the path to advanced cancer testing. Coverage for the new tests will begin for members in March.

Using genome sequencing, tests will attempt to find specific markers and mutations in a patient's DNA which can then help guide decisions doctors make in each unique case. For example, Independence says whole genome sequencing can help determine which cancer therapy treatment will be more effective for the kind of cancer a patient has.

“Independence Blue Cross is committed to bringing state-of-the-art advances in oncology to our members and making care accessible and affordable,” Daniel J. Hilferty, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Decisions around cancer care are complex and personal. We’re focused on supporting Independence members and their oncologists by offering coverage for this innovative approach to treating cancer. Whole genome sequencing is one more option to help inform a personalized, effective treatment plan.”   

Independence said they are the first major health insurer to offer this “next-generation” testing.

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