R.I. Senate passes bill requiring insurers to cover biomarker cancer testing

THE R.I. SENATE has passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, that requires all health insurance plans to cover biomarker testing for cancer. Pictured is the R.I. Statehouse. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ARTISTIC IMAGES

PROVIDENCE – Legislation requiring all Rhode Island health insurance plans to cover biomarker testing for cancer treatment has passed the R.I. Senate.

Sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, 2022-S 2201 mandates that every policy offered by health insurers and other health organizations provide the coverage by the beginning of 2023.

“Biomarker testing can save lives. It can help doctors identify treatment that is faster, more effective and less painful, and can ultimately save treatment dollars,” Goodwin said. “All insurers should embrace this technology. Biomarker testing allows doctors to make full use of the cancer research and treatment experience that is available.”

Biomarker testing is done on a blood or tissue sample and can identify abnormalities or changes in the body that may indicate cancer. The procedure can also help doctors determine the best treatments for patients, according to Goodwin.

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Marcia K. Horn, CEO and president of the International Cancer Advocacy Network, submitted written testimony in support of the bill.

“Biomarker testing replaces educated guesswork with scientific evidence and makes truly personalized, precision medicine possible,” Horn wrote, noting that required coverage for insurers would help underserved patients whose current plan likely does not include the testing.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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