ROCKVILLE, Md. (May 4, 2023) - The American Kidney Fund (AKF) applauds Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and New Mexico for passing legislation that requires health insurance plans to cover biomarker testing for people with chronic diseases, such as kidney disease.
Oftentimes, private insurance plans do not cover the cost of biomarker testing, which involves analyzing a person's tissue, blood or other biospecimens to determine the best treatment for them. While biomarker testing is frequently used in the field of oncology, kidney researchers are beginning to identify new biomarkers that could change the way doctors treat kidney disease.
"Lack of sufficient funds should never prevent someone with kidney disease from accessing treatments that have the potential to improve their health and life," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "AKF commends the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and New Mexico for taking decisive action to ensure biomarker testing is not out of reach for those who can benefit from it. We also thank every lawmaker who sponsored these bills for their commitment to expanding access to affordable, quality health care for everyone."
Biomarker bills were advanced through the leadership of Arizona state Sen. T.J. Shope (SB 1052), Arkansas state Rep. Fred Allen (HB 1121), Georgia state Reps. Sharon Cooper, Lee Hawkins and Eddie Lumsden, and state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (HB 85), New Mexico state Reps. Meredith Dixon and Joy Garratt (HB 73) and Kentucky state Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser (HB 180).
Cystatin C, a protein, is an example of a biomarker used for kidney function. When a healthcare practitioner suspects a patient may have decreased kidney function, a cystatin C test may be ordered to help assess how well the kidneys are filtering. Measurement of serum cystatin C is gaining a greater role in the estimation of kidney function, particularly as the kidney community is reexamining alternatives to the current eGFR equation, which depends on creatinine.
AKF has strongly supported changes to laws and regulations that would require health insurance plans to cover the cost of biomarker testing and ensure doctors have access to necessary data to treat a wide range of serious health conditions. One of AKF's top priorities is to advocate for health equity, which includes healthcare access and affordability. Removing barriers to biomarker testing will ensure that all patients – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic status or zip code – will benefit from better care.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.