The Colon Cancer Prevention Project’s work receives important boost from new legislation requiring Kentucky health benefit plans to cover genetic testing for those with cancer risk, as recommended by health care providers.
LOUISVILLE, KY March 20, 2019- Senate Bill 30 KRS 304.17A-257, sponsored by State Senator Ralph Alvarado, was signed into law by Governor Bevin on March 19. This legislation requires Kentucky governed health benefit plans to cover cancer risk genetic testing if the recommendation is made by a licensed medical professional (covered under KRS Chapter 311 & 314), and follows the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. This is the first specific type of cancer risk genetic testing coverage bill to pass in the country. This bill has a January 1, 2020 effective date to give our health plans time to update all of their coverages.
Kentucky is nationally recognized by the National Colorectal Roundtable as the number one state in the nation for colorectal cancer screening improvements.
“With SB30, we can use genetic testing to help predict the risk of someone developing cancer. Between 5 and 10% of certain cancers are genetic in origin, but unfortunately genetic testing is still not being used to its greatest potential,” says Dr. Whitney Jones, founder of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project.
One factor, addressed in SB30, is the lack of consistent insurance coverage around preventative genetic testing for those who have a family history. BRCA testing is currently covered by the ACA, but other cancer histories are not. Each year almost 2,500 Kentuckians should be tested and less than 10% of them are receiving cancer risk genetic screening.
With this genetic testing, Kentuckians will be better able to assess their risks and determine appropriate screening age. Kentucky providers and patients need every tool at their disposal to prevent and control cancer. Ensuring coverage for cancer risk genetic testing will save lives and prevent unnecessary suffering in the Commonwealth.
For more information regarding SB30 or the lifesaving work of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project or for an interview request, contact Amanda Smart, Executive Director for the Colon Cancer Prevention Project at 502.272.2397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.