News and Commentary

Aetna Chief Wants Coverage For Genetic Tests


The CEO of the country's largest for-profit HMO has jumped with both feet into the national discussion about genetic testing's place in health care.

John W. Rowe, MD, head of Aetna, urges HMOs to make products available that cover genetic testing.

"Health plans can play an important role in promoting access to clinically useful genetic testing and proper interpretation of test results," Rowe said at a symposium on genetic privacy. "I believe there is a pressing need for the health insurance industry to establish guidelines for covering genetic testing in a way that promotes disease prevention and disease management, while at the same time respecting members' privacy."

Among his recommendations, Rowe says that health plans should educate and guide doctors about the use of genetic tests and the selection of medications based on the results of the tests.

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