UnitedHealthCare

Executives at two commercial payors said they'd follow CMS' lead when it comes to patients covered under Medicare but beyond that their support for the agency's policy is less clear. 

Payors say online, automated systems will bring standardization and efficiency to prior authorizations, but doctors and labs are uncertain about the impact on patient care.

During the quarter, the firm secured payor coverage for its tests with UnitedHealthcare, Premera Blue Cross, and Aetna. 

Starting Oct. 1, the insurer will require clinicians and labs who order genetic and molecular tests for their patients to first get approval. 

The long-term pricing contract covers hereditary cancer testing, GeneSight, and a number of other diagnostics, but doesn't extend to coverage. 

The decision is a quick reversal from a recent decision by the insurer not to cover fecal DNA testing and makes it the final major US insurer to cover Cologuard.

The test, intended as an aid for diagnosing thyroid cancer where cytopathology is inconclusive, is now covered for around 250 million patients nationwide.

United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna, and Anthem now cover the Harmony test, which predicts fetal risk for trisomies 21, 18, and 13.

The coverage is for Paradigm's PCDx test, and will extend to all patients insured by UnitedHealthcare throughout the United States.

Under a national agreement, UnitedHealthcare will cover the FoundationOne genomic profiling assay in patients with metastatic stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has released the results of a genetic ancestry analysis, the Boston Globe reports.

Retraction Watch's Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus report that Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital have recommended that more than 30 papers from a former researcher be retracted.

Thomas Steitz, who won the 2009 chemistry Nobel Prize for his ribosome work, has died, the Washington Post reports.

In PLOS this week: mechanisms for genes implicated in coronary artery disease, rumen microbes and host genetics influence cow methane production, and more.