Arizona medical health insurance providers now to cover cancer ‘biomarker tests’

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PHOENIX — A bill signed into law by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday requires health insurers and the state’s Medicaid plan to pay for so-called “biomarker tests” which can be needed for a lot of modern cancer treatments.

The laws’s signing was hailed by the American Cancer Society, which called biomarker testing a critical step in assessing precision cancer treatments. Measuring the presence of certain biomarkers akin to gene mutations allows doctors to higher goal certain cancers and may result in fewer side affects and higher quality of life and survival rates.

“Near 60% of the oncology drugs launched previously five years require or recommend biomarker testing prior to make use of,” said Brian Hummell, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Motion Network in Arizona. “And the proportion of cancer clinical trials that involve biomarkers has grown significantly.”

The bill passed with overwhelming support within the Legislature.

It was opposed by several major health insurers and their national association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and the greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

It sponsored by Republican Rep. Reginal Cobb of Kingman was supported by several major hospitals, pharmaceutical, testing firms, the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Cancer Society.

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