Expanding NIPT coverage means nominal cost increase

2019 04 01 22 25 7153 Pregnant Woman 400

Expanding noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for pregnant women under the age of 35 only increased Harvard Pilgrim Health Care's (HPHC) costs by less than $0.03 per member per month, according to a new study published on March 11 in PharmacoEconomics.

HPHC, which covers around 3 million people in the northeastern U.S., partnered with Illumina and the University of Colorado for the study, which evaluated the effect of a risk-sharing agreement that opened insurance coverage for these women. For the agreement, Illumina and HPHC engaged the University of Colorado as a third-party academic collaborator in 2018 to develop a study protocol, complete the analyses, and lead the publication development. The PharmacoEconomics article is the first-ever published report on a value-based agreement between a bio/medical technology company and a payer, the groups said in a press release.

The study shows how payers can provide NIPT access to all pregnant women and produce better outcomes at about the same cost, the researchers said. It's likely the study results will encourage more payers to follow suit, the authors added.

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