Changes to east coast insurance coverage policies will increase treatment options for patients suffering pain from bone metastases. Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina (BCBSNC) and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (BCBSNJ) have published updates to their Magnetic Resonance Imaging-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) coverage policy. The guidelines now provide coverage for the ExAblate procedure, an FDA-approved, noninvasive therapy from Insightec.
The treatment uses focused ultrasound technology to destroy the nerves responsible for the pain in the bone surface surrounding the tumor. The system is controlled by MRI technology, minimizing damage to the surrounding tissue. Since the procedure does not use ionizing radiation, it involves minimal side effects and can be combined with primary tumor radiotherapy without creating a local radiation overdose.
Together, BCBS NC and Horizon BCBS NJ provide benefits to more than 3.8 million patients. Their announcements follow an earlier decision by Health Care Service Corporation, the second largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercial insurer in the United States, to cover MRgFUS treatments for bone metastases.
“We are very happy that our efforts have yielded another favorable decision which will enable patients to benefit from a noninvasive treatment that quickly reduces pain, allows return to normal activities within days, and is available in leading medical centers across the US,” says Dee Kolanek, vice president of reimbursement at Insightec.
For more information, visit the Insightec website.