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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."