Frequently Asked Questions

Will my insurance pay for genetic counseling?

Most insurance companies cover part, if not all, of the office visit charges (total range is $300 to $500 after both appointments). We strongly recommend that you check with your insurance policy to see if you require a referral from your primary care physician. Referrals should be made out to Joseph Tucker, M.D.

Will my insurance pay for genetic testing?

It is important to note that genetic testing is a separate charge from genetic counseling. At the end of the first appointment we will determine if you are an appropriate candidate for genetic testing, which test would be most appropriate, and which family member (ideally) should be tested first. We will discuss the cost of that testing with you (ranging from $325 to $3,000). Most insurance plans cover a majority of the cost when there is a reasonable risk of a hereditary cancer syndrome.

What if my insurance company learns I have had genetic counseling or testing?

Many patients express concerns about discrimination by health and life insurance companies. Recent federal legislation provides protection against genetic discrimination by health insurers and employers. The federal law is called GINA, or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

What information should I bring to my first counseling session?

When we take a family history, we will ask about your brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. We will ask for their ages (whether or not they have had cancer). If a relative has had cancer, we will ask about their age at diagnosis and how it was treated. If possible, medical records or death certificates are very helpful. If a relative has had genetic testing, it is important to bring a copy of the laboratory result.

Can I just have genetic testing without counseling?

No. The genetic counseling and risk assessment is an important part of the testing process. The entire process is necessary for correct interpretation of test results and subsequent management options.

How will this information benefit me?

People with a family history of cancer often worry about themselves or their children’s risk for developing cancer. Our goal is to provide individual risk assessment that can be incorporated into your ongoing medical care.

Some patients are reassured to learn that their own cancer risk is lower than expected. For individuals who are found to be at high risk, their physician may suggest careful observation and screening. Early detection is extremely important.