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Two BCBS-affiliated Plans Issue Positive Coverage Policies for Veracyte's Afirma GEC Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Veracyte said today that Highmark and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey issued positive coverage policies for the company's Afirma Gene Expression Classifier.

Both insurers are affiliated with Blue Cross Blue Shield and have classified Veracyte's genomic test as medically necessary for use in evaluating thyroid nodule fine needle aspiration biopsies that are indeterminate following traditional cytopathology review. The Afirma GEC test helps physicians determine which patients may need surgery as part of a thyroid cancer diagnosis.

Highmark covers about 4 million lives and its policy becomes effective Sept. 1. Horizon BCBS has about 3.6 million lives under coverage and its policy takes effect July 26. Veracyte said that they are the third and fourth BCBS-affiliated organizations to issue positive coverage decisions recently for the Afirma GEC, joining Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Premera Blue Cross.

More than 10 million BCBS lives are now covered for the Afirma GEC, Veracyte said, and the total number of lives covered for the test is now more than 135 million.

In addition to the Afirma GEC, Veracyte recently added the Afirma Malignancy Classifiers to help guide surgical strategy for those patients in need of such a procedure. Afirma MC are genomic tests for medullary thyroid cancer and the BRAF gene mutation.

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