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How much does direct-to-consumer genetic testing cost, and is it covered by health insurance?

The price of direct-to-consumer genetic testing ranges from under a hundred dollars to thousands dollars. The cost depends on how many genetic variations are analyzed (and it will cost more if whole genome or whole exome sequencing is used), how extensive the interpretation of results is, and whether other products, programs, or services are included. Some companies charge separately for the sample collection kit and the analysis, while others offer the sample collection and analysis as part of a package. In some cases, consultation with a healthcare professional (such as a genetic counselor) is included in the cost of testing; in others, it can be added for an additional fee. Before you proceed with testing, make sure you know the total cost for all of the results, support, and other services you expect to receive.

Direct-to-consumer genetic tests, even tests that provide information about health and disease risk, are not covered by most health insurance plans. Because this testing is done without a referral from a healthcare provider and is not considered “diagnostic” (that is, it cannot be used to diagnose any disease or condition), health insurance companies generally will not pay for it. However, the tests may be eligible for reimbursement through flexible spending accounts (FSA) or health spending accounts (HSA) if the testing included health information. If you decide to share your results with your healthcare provider and he or she recommends additional testing or management, that follow-up care may be covered by insurance.

Direct-to-consumer genetic tests that are unrelated (or indirectly related) to health, such as ancestry testing and paternity testing, are typically not covered by FSAs, HSAs, or health insurance plans.