Some insurance companies now covering genetic test for macular degeneration

The test, Macula Risk, can tell if someone with a mild form of Macular Degeneration is likely to progress to a severe stage with vision loss, Eaton said.

More than 7 million Americans have intermediate age-related macular degeneration with symptoms of blurry vision, difficulty telling colors apart, distorted vision and shadows. The “wet” form of the disease involves abnormal blood vessel growth behind the eye, which leads to fluid leakage. Straight-ahead vision can become distorted or lost entirely in a short period of time.

Available from Canadian-based ArcticDX, the genetic test came on the market last year but insurance companies at the time were not covering the $400 expense. Now insurers are covering the cost if someone already has been diagnosed with early stage disease.

Gregory Hines, president and chief executive officer of ArcticDX, based in Toronto,  said a handful of insurers, namely Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Cigna, were the first to cover the test and the other major insurers are starting to follow suit when there already has been a diagnosis of the disease.

In the event an insurance company denies coverage for a patient who meets criteria for the test, Arctic DX will bear the cost, Hines said.

For more information, visit the website ArcticDX. com


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