Patients fork out $25m for genetic tests

A survey of the 39 laboratories accredited to provide genetic testing found the overall spend was approximately $75 million in 2011. 

In some states up to half of the cost of genetic testing was financed by patients.

RCPA board member and head of the SA Clinical Genetics Service, Professor Graeme Suthers, said he was surprised patient payments constituted such a major proportion of the funding for tests.
 “If we fail to manage this properly, I think we will end up with a two-tier healthcare system.There will be appropriate genetic testing available for those who can pay and there will be no genetic testing for those who cannot,” he said. 

Only about 2% of 500 tests available are Medicare funded and arrangements for state government funding vary enormously, according to Professor Suthers. 

The findings, which were due to be presented at the RCPA’s Pathology Update conference in Melbourne last