Independence Blue Cross will begin including whole-genome sequencing for some cancers as a covered benefit starting this spring, the health insurer said Monday.
Independence, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate based in Philadelphia, said it struck a deal with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s health technology firm NantHealth to offer coverage for the sequencing. Independence’s commercial members will have access to the testing in March. It’ll only apply to people who have certain types of cancers and in situations where traditional therapies haven’t worked.
Whole-genome sequencing is the most comprehensive type of genetic testing that gives scientists and doctors the ability to analyze a person’s entire genome. The precision medicine test gives researchers more data to determine which abnormal genes may be behind someone’s cancer, and individualized treatments can be built as a result.