Little is known about how Medicaid coverage policies affect access to genetic tests for pediatric patients. Building upon and extending a previous analysis of prior authorization requests (PARs), we describe expected coverage of genetic tests submitted to Texas Medicaid and the PAR and diagnostic outcomes of those tests.
We retrospectively reviewed genetic tests ordered at 3 pediatric outpatient genetics clinics in Texas. We compared Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes with the Texas Medicaid fee-for-service schedule (FFSS) to determine whether tests were expected to be covered by Medicaid. We assessed completion and diagnostic yield of commonly ordered tests.
Among the 3388 total tests submitted to Texas Medicaid, 68.9% (n = 2336) used at least 1 CPT code that was not on the FFSS and 80.7% (n = 2735) received a favorable PAR outcome. Of the tests with a CPT code not on the FFSS, 60.0% (n = 1400) received a favorable PAR outcome and were completed and 20.5% (n = 287) were diagnostic. The diagnostic yield of all tests with a favorable PAR outcome that were completed was 18.7% (n = 380/2029).
Most PARs submitted to Texas Medicaid used a CPT code for which reimbursement from Texas Medicaid was not guaranteed. The frequency with which clinically indicated genetic tests were not listed on the Texas Medicaid FFSS suggests misalignment between genetic testing needs and coverage policies. Our findings can inform updates to Medicaid policies to reduce coverage uncertainty and expand access to genetic tests with high diagnostic utility.