Some of you may have seen the recent headline in the Austin American Statesman: Feds Allege Medicare Gene Test Fraud. Apparently some local Austin folks with Medicare were caught up in it. They were enticed into testing, and unfortunately provided their Medicare information to some shady organizations. The Statesman says that health fairs, church events, and senior centers are like magnets for these fraudsters
There are several major drawbacks to the cheap or free Genetic testing services that you may be offered, if it is not ordered by a physician that you already know and trust:
- You may have put your sensitive insurance and medical information into the hands of a fraudster that will sell it on the black market
- You may have opened yourself up to fraudulent claims that will get you in trouble with Medicare or other insurance companies.
- Your legitimate genetic testing claims may be denied in the future.
- You have no guarantee that real genetic testing was ever done.
The fact is that Medicare and most insurance companies will not pay for your genetic testing, unless you have a strong family history of a certain genetic disease and/or already have symptoms of a condition like heart disease or cancer. In some ways this is unfortunate and short sighted on their part – the benefits of genetic testing are proven in many studies, and we are starting to see a few insurance companies take the lead in this area.
In the mean time you will have to pay something. However, the cost is now only a few hundred dollars for comprehensive testing, so for many folks that can afford it, it make strong sense to get it done. If you are part of my practice, you can get pharma-genomic testing for free (with an annual payment plan).
If you are interested in this, check out our page on Precision Genomic Medicine.