Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Aetna Updates Noninvasive Prenatal Testing Coverage Policy to Include All Pregnancies

NEW YORK — Aetna this week updated its coverage policy to include noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for all pregnancies.

According to Aetna's updated policy, the Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer now considers NIPT using measurement of cell-free fetal nucleic acids in maternal blood to be medically necessary for screening for fetal aneuploidy in all pregnant women.

The move comes at a time when a number of payors, including UnitedHealthcare and Humana, have begun offering coverage of NIPT for average-risk pregnancies. This summer, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued new guidelines recommending prenatal aneuploidy screening for all pregnant women regardless of their age or other risk factors.

Several firms offer NIPT for average-risk pregnancies but Natera is widely seen as the biggest beneficiary as more payors now provide coverage for that market.

According to San Carlos, California-based Natera, which offers the Panorama SNP-based prenatal blood test for the early detection of genetic disorders, approximately 90 percent of all commercially covered lives in the US now have average-risk NIPT coverage.

"With the decisions made this week, all 20 of the largest commercial payors now cover NIPT, independent of prior risk," Ramesh Hariharan, general manager of Natera's women's health business, said in a statement. "With our unique SNP-based NIPT, we will have an even greater opportunity to make a positive impact on prenatal care."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.