Amid increasing healthcare costs in the U.S, it’s easy to overlook that less than 3% of these costs are spent on prevention. Scientific progressions and the lowered cost of genetic sequencing; provide employee DNA testing which has the potential to stimulate unprecedented levels of prevention and early detection.
As companies try to bring down healthcare expenses while drawing and retaining workers in competitive talent markets, leading organizations such as GE Appliances, Visa, SAP, and Tribune Media include genetic testing as part of their benefits program and into their preventive health plan. Providing employee DNA testing confidential access to services that may help them learn their risk earlier. Manage it better enables these companies to invest in their workers’ health and the future of their organization.
Here are the top 3 reasons that corporations are offering genetic testing services. As voluntary health benefits for workers, and sometimes their families:
#1 Knowledge Can Save Lives
Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of individuals with genetic mutations such as BRCA1 are not aware of their elevated. What is more, many do not meet the criteria to get genetic testing through the conventional medical insurance system. The standards require an extensive family history of cancer, which is not always present in individuals with mutations. By way of instance, about 50 percent of women with specific risk-increasing variations in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Do not possess a family history of ovarian or breast cancer.
Employees who know their uncertainty are better able to acquire a risk management program with their healthcare providers. Which sometimes will enable outright prevention and cancer detection. The rise in 5-year survival rate for hereditary cancers captured at an early vs. advanced phase is striking: for breast cancer. By way of instance, early-stage cancers have a 98 percent 5-year survival rate vs. 25 percent for advanced-stage cancers.
#2 Early Detection & Prevention Lowers Treatment Prices
Prevention and early detection reduce therapy costs, along with saving lives. The expected cost of treatment for breast cancer captured during the first period is over 50 percent less than that contracted at an early stage. Cost cuts are similar or meaningfully more for other genetic cancers, as well. SAP launched Color as a voluntary health benefit for its employees and their families.
In the first two weeks, Color recognized over 100 individuals with genetic mutations that increase their chance for hereditary cancers. For SAP, that’s a possible multi-million dollar exposure in treatment costs alone. Surprisingly, approximately 60 percent of those folks would not have met with insurance standards to qualify for genetic testing. These higher-risk employees are now able to manage their health better and save increased treatment costs later on, for SAP and themselves.
#3 Federal Rules Prevent Discrimination and Protect Privacy
Workers and employers equally question the privacy of genetic data and if people who get tested risk being discriminated against depending on their results. Employers should make certain their genetic testing partners are submissive with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and perform technical safeguards to preserve patient information.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). Serve as national protections to prevent discrimination using genetic data for health insurance and employment status. Some state authorities further defend against discrimination in the fields of life insurance, housing, and emergency medical services.
Precision prevention and personalized medicine are on the upswing. Offering genetic testing services to your employees DNA testing can set your organization on the road to better health outcomes and lower treatment costs.
Color helps assess genetic risk for certain hereditary disorders. Employees may share their risk results with their health care provider to develop a health screening or management program. Which might result in earlier identification or disease prevention. The Color Test isn’t a diagnostic test.
What Is The Color Test?
Color is a health tech service partnering with employers to provide workers confidential access to genetic data that sheds light on their risk for hereditary diseases. Color incorporates precision medicine expertise and world-class engineering to provide accessible, clinical-grade genetic testing aids, with free genetic counseling included with each test. Learn more at color.com/benefits or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Levi Strauss & Company founded a novel advantage for employees’ DNA testing in its San Francisco headquarters last fall: complementary genetic examination to evaluate their genetic risks for some cancers and higher cholesterol.
Levi’s chief executive, Chip Bergh, said he had expected that the tests would encourage workers to take preventative health measures and in that way, reduce the health care costs of the company. But even Mr. Bergh was amazed by the turnout. Of the 1,100 qualified Levi’s employees, over 50% took the genetic tests. He wants to extend the benefits to workers in different cities.
West Coast corporations competing for talent provide an incredible array of advantages like egg freezing, surrogacy assistance, college loan repayment, and, for new moms away on business tours, overnight breast milk delivery. Some organizations have added genetic screening, too, and workers are preparing for the tests.
OpenTable, Instacart, Salesforce, Nvidia, SAP, Stripe, Slack, and Snap have offered the screenings as an employee benefit. So have some businesses based on the East Coast, such as General Electric Appliances and Visa. All of these firms, including Levi’s, work with Color Genomics, a startup that has rapidly become a leader in worker genetic screening and counseling.
The usage of screenings as an employee benefit is becoming more commonplace as national researchers, health agencies, and physicians. They are quarreling over whether the tests, initially developed to verify patients’ inherited risks of contracting. Certain diseases are ready for broad adoption.
The tests examine for inherited gene mutations that may significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing diseases such as breast cancer or colon cancer. Doctors now regularly suggest to them for high-risk patients, like individuals who have close family members with specific cancers.
For people of average risk in the general public, a screening might not be all that helpful. And may even cause harm, experts said. Someone with no family history of cancer may have identical problematic mutations as high-risk patients, they said but may have a lower risk of developing cancer.
A national advisory panel on evidence-based preventive medication currently recommends against routine screening for specific harmful breast cancer mutations. For women who don’t have cancer or a family history of cancer. The team concluded that the total benefit of regular genetic testing for these women could range from least to possibly deadly.
Most cancers are not the result of the genetic mutations in single genes that these tests identify. Some specialists warned that extending the use of the tests to the wider population may lead some people of average risk to forgo prescribed screening tests like colonoscopies. And they warned that it might lead people to undergo random medical procedures. Such as going to the extreme of having their breasts to remove their breasts.
The Food and Drug Administration, though, later took a different stance. It approved 23andMe, a customer genetics firm that had already obtained agency clearance to market several genetic disease risk tests. To provide a test directly to customers for three breast cancer gene variations prevalent in people of Eastern European Jewish descent.
While governors called their decision an action ahead in the possibility of direct-to-consumer genetic tests. They explicitly advised the test didn’t identify most variations that raise breast cancer risk. They also advised customers not to use the tests as a substitute for qualified medical care and genetic counseling.
The color, the genomics firm, takes something of a middle road. It markets comprehensive medical diagnostic tests that screen for all mutations of certain genes. Known to be connected to certain types of heart problems and heredity cancers. It has doctors available to order its tests online for users its evaluations and provides genetic counseling to discuss users’ results.
Executives at Nvidia and SAP said they expected genetic screening might help prevent at least a few late-stage cancers. The sorts of life-threatening illnesses that could debilitate employees and cost companies with self-funded health programs. Over $1 million in medical fees.
After Nvidia started offering free screening from Color last year, about 27 percent of its 6,000 eligible employees in the USA took the test year.
SAP began to subsidizing the genetic tests last year, about 17 percent of the company’s 30,000 qualified employees and family members participated.
The expense of screening more people of average risk. Follow-up prices from medicines, additional tests, surgery and potential complications from surgeries. Specialists said that overall medical expenses were actually likely to increase. Even so, they said, spending company money on screening for diseases such as hereditary high cholesterol is worth it. High cholesterol raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes before the age of 50, which could ultimately prolong some lives if caught early.
Color has proposed $150 million from investment capital firms like General Catalyst and Bay Area tech luminaries, including Laurene Powell Jobs, a philanthropist-investor, the widow of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs; Max Levchin, a PayPal co-founder, and Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive.
The company has reduced genetic testing costs by using robotics and machine.Learning and eliminating tasks like in-person prescreening by doctors. It costs $249 for hereditary risk screening costs for eight of the most common cancers. Started offering that price while more traditional medical diagnostics companies were charging $4,000 for similar tests.
The price point appealed to OpenTable. It began providing genetic screening benefits after an employee with a history of cancers told administrators. She had been spending thousands of dollars from her pocket to cover genetic risk tests.
As for privacy issues, executives at various companies said that Color always sent them aggregate data on the number of employees with serious disease mutations. The information isn’t tied to identifying details, such as workers’ names or birth dates.
As more large-scale research is conduct, medical recommendations may change. More than 150,000 patients, for example, have registered in a DNA sequencing research at Geisinger Health, a medical center in Danville, Pa. And the national advisory panel is upgrading its recommendation on genetic screening for specific breast cancer mutations.
Executives at several companies that have sign up with Color stated they are aware of the debate. Over genetic screening but said they thought the startup was ahead of the curve.