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Aetna Chair Supports Genetic Testing Coverage

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NU Online News Service, June 18, 11:21 a.m. – Dr. John Rowe, the chairman of Aetna Inc., Hartford, says the health insurance industry should do more to encourage the appropriate medical use of genetic counseling and genetic testing.

Rowe discussed his views June 15 in a speech at the University of Rochester. Aetna has helped Rowe publicize the speech by issuing a summary in a widely distributed press release.

Rowe recommends in the speech that health plans cover genetic testing in individuals shown to be at risk where results may affect the course of treatment of the insured.

Plans should also cover genetic testing for a family member when the family member is not otherwise insured, and the results might affect the course of treatment of a plan member; cover consultation with genetic counselors and physicians, and support efforts to educate physicians about genetic testing, Rowe says.

Although Rowe says plans should cover genetic testing, he also supports legislation that would prohibit health insurers from using the test results to evaluate health insurance applications or set rates for plan members.