Genetic testing has become a hot topic in recent weeks due to news that actress Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. Jolie had the procedure done after learning she carried the BRCA1 gene, which increases the risk of a woman developing ovarian and breast cancer. Many are wondering if genetic testing and the steps Jolie took are something other women can copy and whether it will be covered under their health insurance.
Obamacare Expands Genetic Testing for Patients
Under the new rules of the Affordable Care Act, new health policies are required to cover genetic counseling for women at high risk of having the BCRA gene. Often women that are deemed high risk are those with family members who have developed ovarian or breast cancer. Along with covering genetic testing, the ACA requires new health coverage to offer women over the age of 40 mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years without making them pay a copay or coinsurance.
Although the Affordable Care Act covers genetic testing, it does not require insurers to cover double mastectomy procedures. However, the law does help patients with appealing an insurer’s decision to not pay for procedures.
What Genetic Testing Normally Costs
If you chose not to buy insurance and be subject to the ACA tax mandate, preventive genetic testing can cost a hefty amount. Depending on the facility and the genetic test performed the price can range from anywhere between $300 and $3000. This cost can often deter women at high risk from getting the test performed, which is why insurance is now required to step in.
The price for double mastectomy procedures can vary. The price for Jolie’s procedure was estimated to be around $20,000 but it can often be much more.