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Governor Holcomb signs bill that will require insurance to cover biomarker testing

According to the American Cancer Society 60 percent of Oncology drugs launched in the past five years recommend biomarker testing before use.
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Posted at 9:28 PM, Mar 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-11 21:28:27-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Biomarker testing is a method used to sample tissue, blood and other body fluids for certain gene’s proteins or other molecules that may be a sign of a disease.

It’s common among people dealing with cancer. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, 60 percent of Oncology drugs launched in the past five years recommend Bio Marker testing before use.

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Christine Yoder knows first hand the importance of it. She is fighting cancer for the second time. So is one of her two twin grandsons. This time around she isn’t fighting the disease through chemotherapy, thanks to bioMarker testing.

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"With the biomarker testing there was a less than one percent chance that chemo would make any difference at all,” Yoder said.

Not taking unnecessary chemotherapy can be life changing. The problem is not all insurance companies cover biomarker testing. Senate enrolled act 273, which was signed by Governor Eric Holcomb will change that. The need for bio marker testing is expected to grow too.

"Currently about half of cancer patients require biomarker testing in their treatment plan but I think we will see that number continue to grow,” Allie Kast with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said.

Cancer isn't the only disease that bio marker testing can help. The Alzheimer’s Association says new breakthroughs in research will help them as well but many of those new breakthroughs will require patients to go through bio marker testing.

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"As more biomarkers come online and are approved by the FDA here in the next couple of years, it will be easier for folks to diagnose Alzheimer's and dementia,” David Sklar with Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter said. “Which means that families can treat it earlier."

For patients like Yoder she says this not only has the ability to change lives, but save them too.

"It could be you die from it before they get to the right one,” Yoder said. “Whereas if they have access to biomarker testing they can use the correct one the first time. It changes cancer as we know it. "

Indiana is the 15th state to pass a law requiring bio marker testing be covered by public and private insurance. This law will take effect in July.