A team of California lawmakers just lately sent letters to Aetna and UnitedHealthcare urging them to completely protect non-invasive prenatal screening for all pregnant ladies in the condition.

The two coverage organizations quickly included non-invasive prenatal screening, or NIPT, for younger ladies during the pandemic, but the letters implore them to broaden the coverage outside of COVID-19.

As a substitute of presenting coverage for NIPT like other insurers such as Cigna, Blue Shield of California and Optima Overall health, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare only protect screening assessments that can bring about pregnant ladies and their families extra fees, and referrals to professionals for more screening, in accordance to the letters.

WHY THIS Matters

NIPT is applied to decide the risk that a fetus will be born with selected abnormalities, this sort of as Down’s syndrome.

It has been uncovered to be the most correct prenatal screening take a look at and has a detection level for Down’s syndrome of much more than 99{312eb768b2a7ccb699e02fa64aff7eccd2b9f51f6a579147b7ed58dbcded82a2}, with a wrong constructive level as low as .1{312eb768b2a7ccb699e02fa64aff7eccd2b9f51f6a579147b7ed58dbcded82a2}, in accordance to a analyze from The New England Journal of Medicine. The very same analyze uncovered that regular screening assessments miss up to 21{312eb768b2a7ccb699e02fa64aff7eccd2b9f51f6a579147b7ed58dbcded82a2} of Down’s syndrome situations.

The letter cites a person reason that insurers should really protect NIPT is to steer clear of “wrongful beginning lawsuits,” the place parents declare negligence in informing the parents of the risk of having a genetically impaired little one. The letter indicates that by presenting much more correct assessments, like NIPT, these lawsuits could be prevented since the likelihood of identifying the baby’s genetic condition is greater.

Despite the fact that California’s over-all maternal mortality level is significantly less than the national ordinary, major racial and ethnic disparities exist throughout a range of maternal excellent steps, such as prenatal visits, preterm births, and maternal and infant mortality rates, in accordance to the 2019 California maternity care report.

The lawmakers who sent the letter believe furnishing equitable entry to prenatal screening choices irrespective of coverage program, socioeconomic amount, race or ethnicity is crucial in decreasing the state’s maternal wellness disparities.

THE Bigger Trend

The American School of Obstetricians and Gynecologists just lately current its coverage tips to say all clients should really be provided NIPT irrespective of age or risk elements.

Formerly, the organization only advisable the use of NIPT in “significant-risk” pregnancies, this sort of as in folks 35 decades or older.

Apart from presenting NIPT to pregnant ladies, telehealth may well be a system to close the maternal wellness gap. It can carry pregnant ladies the prenatal care they have to have even when they don’t have entry to a medical professional.


“Health care coverage decisions are frequently identified by a range of elements such as expense, healthcare necessity, regular of care, and availability of services,” the lawmakers stated in their letter. “An necessary place of health care coverage for several, specially younger ladies, is maternity positive aspects and screening available to decide a healthier pregnancy. Weak coverage coverage for early genetic maternity screening can have devastating consequences on ladies and their pregnancies. Not like a number of insurers like Cigna, Blue Shield of California, Optima Overall health and other folks, Aetna [and UnitedHealthcare have] continue to not completely endorsed non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPT) coverage for all pregnant ladies.”

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