Senator Crowe


SPRINGFIELD – To streamline the detection process and determine hereditary risks for breast and ovarian cancers for women in Illinois, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) advanced legislation Wednesday to require insurance companies to cover the cost of genetic testing kits.

“Early detection through genetic testing is essential for women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancers,” Crowe said. “By offering genetic testing at no cost, Illinois would be on track to provide peace of mind to individuals who are at the most risk.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the genes most commonly affected in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. About 3% of breast cancers, approximately 7,500 women per year, and 10% of ovarian cancers, an estimated 2,000 women per year, result from inherited mutations.

Once a test is recommended by a health care provider, Crowe’s proposal requires insurance coverage for costs associated with genetic testing for the BRCA1 and 2 genes. The measure applies to Illinois residents with individual or group insurance policies issued on or after Jan. 1, 2024.

In current law, the Illinois Insurance code requires individual and group insurance health plans to cover annual cancer screenings for women who have tested positive for BRCA1 or 2 mutations. However, the code does not require health insurance plans to cover the gene mutation testing. Some insurance companies have specific genetic testing criteria or do not cover genetic testing in certain situations, even when considered medically appropriate.

“By codifying the coverage into law, Illinois would create a consistent, reliable process for genetic mutation testing for at-risk women,” Crowe said. “Hereditary breast and ovarian cancers pose verified, significant threats to a woman’s health, and preventative medical steps can be taken once the risks are determined.”

House Bill 5334 passed the Senate Insurance Committee Wednesday and moves for further consideration before the full Senate.