Rep. Hwang Hails House Passage of Measure Requiring Health Insurance Coverage for Bone Marrow Testing


Legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Tony Hwang (R-134) has co- which would require health insurance providers to cover bone marrow testing has now passed the State House of Representatives. Hwang, who shepherded the measure through the Appropriations Committee last month, said the bill will save money and save lives.

Under the bill, a policy may limit coverage to one covered test in a person’s lifetime and cannot impose a coinsurance, copayment, deductible, or other out-of-pocket expense for the testing that exceeds 20% of the cost for testing per year, unless it is a high-deductible policy designed to be compatible with federally qualified health savings accounts.

The bill also requires a policy to require bone marrow testing at a facility certified under the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act and accredited by the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. It limits coverage to people who sign up for the National Marrow Donor Program when being tested.

“Getting a successful bone marrow transplant is many times the difference between life and death for those who suffer from certain serious diseases,” said Rep. Hwang. “Being able to determine if a match will be successful is determined through testing. Under this measure, health insurance providers would cover this testing in the same way they currently cover blood testing for other procedures.”

Hwang noted that transplant patients who have an unsuccessful procedure will then likely enter into the far more expensive prospect of end-of-life care due to the low survival rate of those who have an imperfect donor match. This makes the bill a life saver and a money saver said Hwang.

The measure now heads to the State Senate for action there. This session of the General Assembly adjourns at midnight, June 8th, 2011.

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