5 things you need to know about genetic counseling

Akron Children’s Genetic Center provides the following information about genetic counseling.

What is genetic counseling?

Genetic counseling is a meeting with a genetic counselor and geneticist to discuss hereditary conditions. Genetic counseling provides the information needed to translate complex medical information into practical information that is useful to the patient and other family members. Medical and family history information are gathered to help make a genetic diagnosis or to determine a person’s risk of developing a genetic disorder.

What is a genetic counselor?

A genetic counselor is a healthcare provider who is master’s-trained to help families understand genetic disorders and provide information and support to those families who may be at risk for an inherited condition. Genetic counselors identify families at risk, investigate the problem present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risk of recurrence, and review available options with a family.

Should I pursue genetic testing?

Genetic testing will be discussed during your initial appointment to determine if testing is right for you. In most cases, genetic testing involves having a blood sample drawn from the family member who has the condition in question. We will discuss concerns you may have about genetic testing, such as the cost and insurance coverage, as well as the benefits of genetic testing for you and your family. Research studies also are an option if there is not yet a genetic test available for the condition in your family.

Will my insurance cover genetic counseling, evaluation and risk assessment?

Genetic counseling and genetic testing are often, but not always, covered by insurance companies. Insurance coverage depends on your specific policy and the reasons for your genetic counseling visit. But generally your visit is covered in the same way as a visit with any specialist. You can confirm your exact coverage by calling the customer service phone number on your insurance card. The insurance company may ask for specific codes or test names in order to determine coverage. You can call our office and speak with a genetic counselor to gather this information.

Will my insurance cover genetic testing?

Insurance companies will often cover specific genetic testing. Testing coverage and preauthorization is discussed further at your visit and generally testing is not done until preauthorization is obtained. If testing is denied, we are able to appeal that decision in many cases.

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