Payer Policy and Advocacy

Increasing Access

Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine is committed to supporting equitable patient access to rapid whole genome sequencing, and to helping enable our partners to adopt systems to support clinical ordering. We help advocate for public Medicaid and private insurance coverage of life-saving rWGS testing. 

Getting Paid for Testing

RCIGM collaborates with clinical partners to navigate systems and implement processes to seek reimbursement for testing and improve patient access to care 

Learn more about collaborating with RCIGM to impact and effectively utilize payer policy in your area by contacting Equitable Policy and Payer Engagement Manager Maddie Arenchild. 

Making the Case for rWGS®

rWGS has demonstrated high clinical utility, downstream savings, and improves the experience of care for patients and health care providers. Providing rWGS as a first-line test is a cost-effective intervention and effective quadruple aim strategy for high quality care. 

Expanding Coverage

RCIGM works with policy makers and payers advocating for better coverage policies for rapid whole genome sequencing. We know that favorable coverage positions help patients get the care they need when they need it.  

Making the Case for rWGS®

Our advocacy work is supported by numerous peer-reviewed studies that we have published, showing that rapid Whole Genome SequencingTM (rWGS®) can empower clinicians to make timely, precise diagnoses and treatment decisions for critically ill children with genetic diseases.

Demonstrated benefits of rWGS include:  

Project Baby Bear logo

Groundbreaking Study

Led by Rady Children’s and funded by the State of California, Project Baby Bear provided rapid Whole Genome Sequencing for infants hospitalized in intensive care while yielding life-changing benefits and saving $2.5 million in medical costs.

Working with RCIGM has been like a ‘teaching other people to fish’ type of situation. And it is really nice to go into something that feels new and novel, and to come with a friend who’s done it and who’s willing to help you. That was certainly a key part of the success of Project Baby Deer.

— Caleb Bupp, Division Chief, Medical Genetics & Genomics, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital

Expanding Coverage​

Since RCIGM completed Project Baby Bear in 2021, several states have passed legislation covering rWGS for critically-ill infants, and a number of major insurance carriers have added it to their list of covered procedures.

This map indicates the latest coverage, as of January 2024. 

Please visit this page on a desktop computer to view the map showing the latest coverage, as of November 2023.

See the tables below for more details on the state Medicaid coverage and private payers

rWGS Coverage: Medicaid Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Medicaid + BCBSA Hover over a state for more information

State Medicaid Coverage for rWGS

State Policy Criteria
Arizona Medicaid
California Medi-Cal AB133 and reflected in Provider Bulletin 573 ≤ 1 year; ICU (NICU/PICU/CVICU)
Florida Medicaid
Georgia Medicaid
Louisiana Medicaid SB 154 ≤ 1 year; ICU (NICU/PICU/CVICU) or Pediatric Care Unit Louisiana Senate Bill 154 also requires that all private health plans cover rWGS subject to medical necessity criteria.
Maryland Medicaid Lab Testing Policy
Michigan Medicaid Lab Policy MSA 21-33, State Plan Amendment # MI-21-0010 ≤ 1 year; ICU (NICU/PICU/CVICU)
Minnesota Medicaid Lab & Pathology Services Provider Manual No age restriction for pediatric critical care unit; ICU (NICU/PICU/CVICU)
Oregon Medicaid Prioritized Health Services List ≤ 1 year; ICU (NICU/PICU/CVICU)
Utah Medicaid Medicaid Information Bulletin November 2023: 23-82 Physician and EPSDT Services Provider Manual Revisions ≤ 1 year; ICU (NICU/PICU/CVICU)

*These are separately payable from DRG through Medicaid. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield Coverage of rWGS

Plan Criteria
BCBS Federal Employee Program The patient should be critically ill and in the NICU or PICU when the test is ordered but may be discharged before results are delivered
BCBS of Arizona Critically ill infants under one year of age
Blue Shield of California Critically ill infants or children less than 18 years of age
Highmark Delaware
Florida Blue Critically ill infants and children in neonatal or pediatric intensive care with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology
BCBS of HI – Hawaii Medical Service Association Critically ill infants in intensive care units with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology
Blue Cross of Idaho Critically ill infants and children in neonatal or pediatric intensive care with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology
BCBS of Louisiana The patient should be critically ill and in the NICU or PICU when the test is ordered but may be discharged before results are delivered
BCBS of Michigan Critically ill infants and children in neonatal or pediatric intensive care with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology
BCBS of Mississippi Critically ill infants and children in neonatal or pediatric intensive care with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology
Horizon Blue New Jersey Critically ill infants and children in neonatal or pediatric intensive care with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology
BCBS of Western New York Critically ill infants with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology following standard workup
Blue Shield of Northeastern New York Critically ill infants with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology following standard workup
BCBS of North Dakota Critically ill infants with a suspected genetic disorder of unknown etiology following standard workup
Capital Blue Cross Pennsylvania
Highmark BCBS Pennsylvania Critically ill infants under one year of age
Highmark Blue Shield Pennsylvania Critically ill infants under one year of age
Independence Blue Cross (Pennsylvania) Critically ill infants under one year of age
BCBS of Rhode Island
BCBS Tennessee Critically ill infants under one year of age
BCBS Texas Critically ill infants under one year of age
Highmark BCBS West Virginia Critically ill infants under one year of age

Other Private Insurers' Coverage of WGS

Plan Policy No. Criteria
Cigna 0519 Whole Exome and Whole Genome Sequencing for Non-Cancer Indications (cigna.com) See policy for medical necessity criteria.
UnitedHealthcare Commercial and Individual Exchange Plans 2023T0589N Whole Exome and Whole Genome Sequencing – Commercial and Individual Exchange Medical Policy (uhcprovider.com) See policy for medical necessity criteria.
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan

CS150.N Whole Exome and Whole Genome Sequencing – Community Plan Medical Policy (uhcprovider.com)

See policy for medical necessity criteria.

Payer information current as of January 2024. 

Medicaid & Insurance Coverage in the News

Collaborate With Us on Payer Policy

Contact Us About rWGS Payers

Please Send Me Info About rWGS Reimbursements

Contact Us About BeginNGS