NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Tufts Health Plan will begin covering Sequenom's MaterniT21 Plus trisomy 21 test and Pathwork Diagnostics' Tissue of Origin test starting Oct. 1.
In an update to providers posted on its website, the health plan said that it may authorize coverage of the MaterniT21 test for patients who are plan members if they are at least 35 years old when they give birth; have a fetal aneuploidy screening test result including maternal serum screening and/or ultrasound evaluation that indicates the possibility of trisomy 21; or the plan member has a family history or prior pregnancy involving aneuploidy.
In a research note Oppenheimer analyst David Ferreiro said that Tufts Health Plan has approximately 1 million lives under coverage and a network of 90 hospitals and 25,000 healthcare providers.
"We view this decision as an incremental positive for [Sequenom] and as validation of the value proposition MaterniT21 presents to payors," he said. "The adoption rate is encouraging and could positively impact payor decisions, further entrenching," the company.
Two weeks ago, Sequenom said that in the second quarter revenues from its Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine diagnostic services rose five-fold to $8.1 million driven by the MaterniT21 Plus test, which was launched in the fall. The test also detects for T18 and T13.
As adoption of the test continues to ramp at an increasing rate, the San Diego-based company increased its internal goal of billed MaterniT21 Plus tests for 2012 to 50,000 from an earlier goal of 40,000.
The company has stopped announcing coverage decisions by individual plans following an incident in the spring in which Coventry Health Care National Network terminated a coverage decision for MaterniT21 Plus one week after Sequenom said that Coventy would cover the test. Sequenom said at the time that Coventry's decision was without cause and was not a judgment on the company, Sequenom CMM, or its products.
In a statement today to GenomeWeb Daily News, a Sequenom spokesperson declined to disclose the terms of the contract with Tufts Health Plan. She said that Sequenom CMM has more than 26 million live under contract, and "we operate as an out-of-network laboratory where we are not yet contracted and bill payors accordingly."
Tufts Health Plan also said that it will begin coverage of Pathwork Diagnostics' Pathwork Tissue of Origin test, beginning on Oct. 1. The test is for the identification of challenging tumors, including poorly differentiated, undifferentiated, and metastatic cancers.
The plan said it may authorize coverage of the test if it is ordered by an oncologist and the plan member is diagnosed with metastatic cancer; the clinical evaluation has not identified the primary site of the cancer; the pathology report is submitted to Tufts Health Plan for review; and the pathology examination is unable to conclusively identify the primary site, or has identified two or more possible primary sites.
Use of the test to confirm a diagnosis will not be covered by the health plan.