Originally published July 15.
Myriad Genetics this week announced a new offering under its financial assistance program, through which patients who qualify under the income requirements and meet the guidelines for testing will have to pay no more than $375 for its tests in out-of-pocket costs.
"To be eligible, patients must have private insurance, meet their insurance's coverage criteria for testing, and meet low-income requirements (household incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level)," Myriad said in a statement announcing the new effort.
This offering is in addition to the company's existing monetary assistance plans, including free testing for uninsured patients who meet medical society guidelines and whose household incomes fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, as well as interest-free tailored payment plans to meet the needs of every patient's unique financial situation, according to the firm.
The financial assistance programs are available for all of Myriad's diagnostic products. Myriad's best-selling tests are BRACAnalysis, which gauges the hereditary risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and Colaris, which determines the risk of hereditary colon and uterine cancer. Both tests carry around a $4,000 price tag.
The expanded financial assistance program comes as the company issued a pledge to patients recently, promising to not impede non-commercial, academic research that uses its patented technology; not interfere with labs conducting genetic testing to provide a second opinion result or confirm test results provided by Myriad; and to continue to provide financial assistance and free testing to patients with a financial need.
Myriad issued this pledge at the same time as it sued two companies, Ambry Genetics and Gene by Gene. In the lawsuits, filed last week in the federal district court in Utah, Myriad and several other institutions alleged that Ambry's and Gene by Gene's testing processes infringed their IP underlying Myriad's BRACAnalysis test (PGx Reporter 7/10/2013).
Myriad noted that it was instituting the new financial assistance program in order to attenuate test access issues for the underinsured. The company cited the Commonwealth Fund's 2012 Biennial Health Insurance Survey, which estimated that approximately 30 million Americans are underinsured. Last year, the survey found that due to cost, 80 million people cut back on “needed health care,” such as doctors' visits and drug prescriptions.
According to Myriad, more than 35,000 patients to date have received assistance from the company to help pay for diagnostic testing.