What is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counseling is the process of educating patients about hereditary conditions. During your appointment, the genetic counselor will review your personal and family histories, and assess the impact on your health. If genetic testing is indicated and available, the genetic counselor will explain the benefits and limitations, to help you make the best decisions for your health.
Why should I have Genetic Counseling?
Please discuss with your doctor any questions you may have about why you are being referred for genetic counseling. The main goal of genetic counseling and testing is to assist in creating a medical management plan intended for the early detection and prevention of disease. If you've already been diagnosed with cancer or another disease, genetic counseling and gene testing may be applied to individualize your treatment plan. Importantly, genetic counseling may also be relevant for other family members' health (such as your children or siblings).
How long is the appointment?
Most appointment times average 30 minutes to 1 hour. We understand that it may be difficult to fit another appointment into your schedule and therefore we will attempt to coordinate the genetic counseling visit with your other doctor appointments.
How is testing done and will it be done the day of my appointment?
Most genetic testing involves a blood sample, and in most cases, the blood can be drawn on the day of the appointment. The genetic counselor will identify the most appropriate person in the family to begin genetic testing. Sometimes this person is the not the actual patient.
Are genetic counseling and testing covered by insurance?
An appointment with a genetic counselor is treated like any other visit with a health care provider. These visits are billable to your insurance company. Genetic counselors bill for their services under a supervising physician at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. If your insurance company allows for coverage of visits with physicians at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, coverage for genetic counseling services is expected. Our patients rarely encounter problems with insurance coverage. If you have specific questions regarding insurance coverage of a scheduled appointment with one of our genetic counselors, we always suggest you call our front desk at (414) 805-0572.
Insurance coverage and pre-authorization of genetic testing is best discussed with the genetic counselor during the scheduled appointment. There is no need for the patient or referring physician to pre-authorize genetic tests prior to the visit with the genetic counselor. The genetic counselor will determine which genetic test may be appropriate during the patient's visit, and insurance coverage and pre-authorization will be discussed at that time. Genetic testing is specialized testing, and genetic counselors are very familiar with the billing process.
Can the health insurance company use the information from this test against me?
No. Federal law and Wisconsin state statutes protect patients from health insurance discrimination. The insurance company cannot raise your premiums due to a positive genetic test result. In addition, you cannot be terminated from your current job or denied a new job based on genetic information. You can find more detailed information about genetic discrimination on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)