California lawmakers push insurers to cover prenatal screening tests universally

A team of California lawmakers just lately despatched letters to Aetna and UnitedHealthcare urging them to completely cover noninvasive prenatal tests for all pregnant women of all ages in the state.

The two insurance plan providers temporarily included noninvasive prenatal tests, or NIPT, for young women of all ages in the course of the pandemic, but the letters implore them to broaden the protection outside of COVID-19.

As a substitute of supplying protection for NIPT like other insurers including Cigna, Blue Defend of California, and Optima Overall health, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare only cover screening assessments that can induce pregnant women of all ages and their households extra expenses, and referrals to specialists for more tests, according to the letters.


NIPT is made use of to determine the chance that a fetus will be born with certain abnormalities, this kind of as Down’s syndrome.

It has been located to be the most precise prenatal screening take a look at and has a detection fee for Down’s syndrome of a lot more than 99%, with a untrue optimistic fee as minimal as .1%, according to a research from The New England Journal of Drugs. The same research located that traditional screening assessments miss out on up to 21% of Down’s syndrome cases.

The letter cites 1 explanation that insurers need to cover NIPT is to prevent “wrongful birth lawsuits,” wherever mother and father declare carelessness in informing the mother and father of the chance of acquiring a genetically impaired child. The letter suggests that by supplying a lot more precise assessments, like NIPT, these lawsuits could be averted mainly because the likelihood of discovering the baby’s genetic condition is increased.

While California’s in general maternal mortality fee is less than the nationwide common, considerable racial and ethnic disparities exist across a selection of maternal excellent steps, including prenatal visits, preterm births, and maternal and infant mortality premiums, according to the 2019 California maternity care report.

The lawmakers who despatched the letter believe that supplying equitable access to prenatal screening choices regardless of insurance plan strategy, socioeconomic degree, race or ethnicity is very important in lowering the state’s maternal wellbeing disparities.

THE Larger sized Trend

The American Faculty of Obstetricians and Gynecologists just lately current its policy tips to say all individuals need to be available NIPT regardless of age or chance things.

Formerly, the firm only suggested the use of NIPT in “large-chance” pregnancies, this kind of as in people 35 several years or older.

In addition to supplying NIPT to pregnant women of all ages, telehealth may be a method to near the maternal wellbeing gap. It can convey pregnant women of all ages the prenatal care they need to have even when they will not have access to a doctor.

ON THE Document

“Healthcare protection choices are often decided by a selection of things, including price tag, health-related requirement, standard of care, and availability of company,” the lawmakers reported in their letter. “An essential place of healthcare protection for lots of, notably younger women of all ages, is maternity gains and tests obtainable to determine a healthy pregnancy. Inadequate insurance plan protection for early genetic maternity tests can have devastating penalties on women of all ages and their pregnancies. In contrast to several insurers like Cigna, Blue Defend of California, Optima Overall health and many others, Aetna [and UnitedHealthcare have] even now not completely endorsed noninvasive prenatal tests (NIPT) protection for all pregnant women of all ages.”

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Electronic mail the author: [email protected]