Japan Health Insurance to Cover Cancer Gene Testing

Last Wednesday, May 29, 2019, the health ministry of Japan announced that its public health insurance will cover genetic testing. This gene test is slated to help cancer patients identify the best course of treatment for their illness.

NHK World – Japan notes that the highly advanced testing method is fairly new in the field of medicine. This method employs using anti-cancer medication designed to work with the patient’s genes.

Enhanced Insurance Coverage

Starting on June 1, 2019, Saturday, the health insurance coverage for gene testing will be applied. According to the Japan Times, the test will be administered to patients whose conditions have not improved or responded to the traditional course of treatments. The news site reports that patients are only required to pay 10 to 30 per cent of the total cost of test.

Without public insurance coverage, patients will pay for gene testing amounting to ¥560,000 per screening.

Qualifications and Eligibility

Individuals suffering from solid types of cancers are eligible for insurance coverage. In addition, Japan Times notes that to qualify, patients must have not responded both to anti-cancer medications and surgery. Pediatric cancer patients and individuals suffering from rare forms of cancers will also be eligible for public health insurance coverage.

Following this updated ruling, the country expects more than 25,000 individuals to avail of the genetic testing coverage per year.

Specialized Course of Treatment

According to NHK World – Japan, qualified patients can provide their specimen at more than 160 hospitals across the country. This includes the 11 key hospitals and research centers that are geared towards addressing genome medication.

After obtaining tumour samples, hospitals will reportedly be asked to submit results to the national cancer research center, states Japan Times. Through specialized and advanced genome testing, the country hopes to develop effective treatments targeting different cancers.