Monday, September 28, 2020
PITTSBURGH (Sept. 28, 2020) — After two years of study and evaluation, the Highmark Health Plan medical policy team has approved a new kind of blood test that helps oncologists diagnose and treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Because lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States according to the American Cancer Society, this is a significant policy change. Highmark is among the first insurers to approve the Biocept test, a type of liquid biopsy.
When a patient has already been diagnosed with NSCLC, this liquid biopsy test is used to determine which kind of therapies will be used to target cancer cells with specific genetic mutations. A liquid biopsy allows treatment based on a blood test where previously an invasive biopsy would have to be performed.
The research and study the past two years was managed by Highmark Health’s VITAL Innovation Platform. VITAL tests early-stage health innovations, producing evidence related to patient experience, care, and cost outcomes so that promising health solutions can potentially be adopted by health plans and improve members’ lives.
“This is an example of how Highmark is a leader in many areas and where collaboration has worked really well. The VITAL team worked with the physicians at the Allegheny Health Network and also the Highmark Health Plan team, along with our medical policy vendor, eviCore, to make certain this could work for patients,” said David Webster, M.D., vice president and executive medical director for the Highmark Health Plan. “After several years, the data shows this will help oncologists better target treatment.”
While much of this testing and management took place in western Pennsylvania, Highmark’s medical policy change is effective for all regions, including the core markets that Highmark and its affiliates serve in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware.
About Highmark Inc.
One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of more than 5.6 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.
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Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves the 29 counties of western Pennsylvania and 13 counties of northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Shield serves the 21 counties of central Pennsylvania and also provides services in conjunction with a separate health plan in southeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves the state of West Virginia plus Washington County. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware serves the state of Delaware. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York serves eight counties in Western New York and Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York serves 13 counties in Northeastern New York. Each of these companies is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
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