Cigna to Preauthorize Genetic Tests

Clinical laboratories and pathology groups serving Cigna beneficiaries can expect to see new requirements for genetic tests used to diagnose breast cancer, colon cancer and long QT syndrome

Effective this week, Cigna (NYSE: CI) in Bloomfield, Connecticut, is implementing a new program that requires genetic counseling and pre-authorization for certain genetic tests. This is an important development and clinical laboratory executives can expect to see other health insurers take similar steps.

Cigna wants to control costs and improve the appropriateness of ordering expensive genetic tests. It will start with tests for three conditions and may require counseling for other types of genetic tests if this program is successful. Industry observers expect other health insurers will follow Cigna’s example and also require genetic counseling for a compelling reason: all insurers recognize that more than 50% of all genetic tests may be ordered inappropriately, experts say.