California lawmakers push insurers to universally cover prenatal screening tests

A group of California lawmakers recently despatched letters to Aetna and UnitedHealthcare urging them to totally include non-invasive prenatal screening for all expecting women in the point out.

The two insurance companies quickly included non-invasive prenatal screening, or NIPT, for young women during the pandemic, but the letters implore them to broaden the protection past COVID-19.

As a substitute of providing protection for NIPT like other insurers including Cigna, Blue Shield of California and Optima Overall health, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare only include screening assessments that can trigger expecting women and their people added expenses, and referrals to specialists for additional screening, in accordance to the letters.

WHY THIS Matters

NIPT is utilized to ascertain the danger that a fetus will be born with specific abnormalities, these kinds of as Down’s syndrome.

It has been located to be the most precise prenatal screening exam and has a detection price for Down’s syndrome of far more than ninety nine%, with a untrue constructive price as low as .one%, in accordance to a study from The New England Journal of Drugs. The exact same study located that classic screening assessments miss up to 21% of Down’s syndrome cases.

The letter cites one particular explanation that insurers should really include NIPT is to steer clear of “wrongful birth lawsuits,” where mom and dad assert negligence in informing the mom and dad of the danger of possessing a genetically impaired baby. The letter indicates that by providing far more precise assessments, like NIPT, these lawsuits could be averted since the probability of identifying the baby’s genetic condition is increased.

While California’s general maternal mortality price is less than the national common, important racial and ethnic disparities exist throughout a range of maternal high quality actions, including prenatal visits, preterm births, and maternal and toddler mortality fees, in accordance to the 2019 California maternity treatment report.

The lawmakers who despatched the letter feel giving equitable accessibility to prenatal screening alternatives regardless of insurance plan, socioeconomic amount, race or ethnicity is important in minimizing the state’s maternal health disparities.

THE Greater Craze

The American College or university of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently up to date its policy tips to say all sufferers should really be provided NIPT regardless of age or danger elements.

Earlier, the corporation only advisable the use of NIPT in “high-danger” pregnancies, these kinds of as in folks 35 decades or more mature.

Aside from providing NIPT to expecting women, telehealth could be a technique to close the maternal health gap. It can provide expecting women the prenatal treatment they need to have even when they will not have accessibility to a medical professional.

ON THE Document

“Healthcare protection conclusions are normally established by a range of elements including cost, health-related requirement, conventional of treatment, and availability of support,” the lawmakers stated in their letter. “An crucial location of healthcare protection for several, notably youthful women, is maternity advantages and screening out there to ascertain a nutritious being pregnant. Poor insurance protection for early genetic maternity screening can have devastating outcomes on women and their pregnancies. Not like various insurers like Cigna, Blue Shield of California, Optima Overall health and other people, Aetna [and UnitedHealthcare have] still not totally endorsed non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPT) protection for all expecting women.”

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