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Veracyte Afirma Test Gains Coverage From 10 New BCBS Plans

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Veracyte said today that 10 new Blue Cross Blue Shield plans recently issued positive coverage decisions for its Afirma Gene Expression Classifier for use in thyroid cancer diagnosis.

The firm noted that the new coverage means Afirma is "a medically necessary benefit" for nearly 24 million Blues plan members in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Western New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming. The genomic test is now covered for nearly 225 million Americans, including more than 70 million Blues plan members overall, the company said. 

The new policies also underscore the "value that the Afirma GEC delivers to patients, physicians, and the healthcare system, which is demonstrated in more than 20 published studies," Veracyte CEO Bonnie Anderson said in a statement.

The firm further told us in an email that the added coverage "underscores the company’s success in getting reimbursed for its genomic tests" after its recent announcement of Medicare coverage for its Percepta Bronchial Genomic Classifier, which is used in lung cancer diagnosis.

Healthcare professionals use Afirma GEC to identify patients with benign thyroid nodules among those with indeterminate cytopathology results to preserve the thyroid. Earlier this month, Veracyte signed an agreement with Quest Diagnostics to broaden access to Afirma.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Bryan Brokmeier wrote in a research note today that Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage of an additional 24 million lives may represent an incremental $26.4 million revenue opportunity to Veracyte.

Shares of Veracyte were up nearly one percent at $8.07 during morning trading on the Nasdaq.