Poll: How Do You Feel About More Coverage for Noninvasive Prenatal Testing?

Editor: Stephanie Cajigal


August 24, 2015

Health insurer Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield announced this month that it would cover noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for most pregnant patients, making it the first US-based insurance company to expand coverage beyond high-risk pregnancies.

Under its new policy, Anthem considers cell-free, fetal DNA-based prenatal screening for fetal aneuploidy (trisomy 13, 18, and 21) medically necessary for women carrying a single gestation, regardless of risk status. The policy also states that the patient should understand "the limitations and benefits of this screening paradigm in the context of alternative screening and diagnostic options."

While the screen can help patients avoid invasive testing, Anthem notes that a woman with a positive cell-free fetal DNA test result should be offered chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis to confirm results.

In its statement, Anthem also acknowledged that research on the utility of NIPT for average- and low-risk pregnancies has produced mixed results. In fact, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists continue to recommend the screen only for high-risk pregnancies. (High risk is defined as maternal age 35 years or older at delivery, sonographic findings indicating an increased risk for aneuploidy, history of a prior pregnancy with a trisomy, positive screening results for aneuploidy (including first-trimester, sequential, integrated, or quadruple screen), or parental balanced Robertsonian translocation with increased risk for trisomy 13 or 21.)

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