Cancer Advocates Commend Colorado Lawmakers for Positive First Step in Opening Door to Precision Medicine

SB24-124 Would Expand Access to Biomarker Testing for Some Coloradans, Awaits Governor Jared Polis’ Signature

May 8, 2024

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) applauds the Colorado General Assembly for taking a great first step to increasing access to biomarker testing by passing SB24-124. The bill was met with strong bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate. With the legislative process now complete, the bill now awaits the signature of Governor Jared Polis. If enacted, the policy would help connect more patients diagnosed with cancer or other diseases with the right treatment at the right time through biomarker testing

The bill would ensure more patients with private insurance will have health insurance coverage for the biomarker testing they need. SB24-124 will affect medical health coverage plans for over one million Coloradans or roughly 33% of those with private health insurance coverage. Unfortunately, the bill does not improve access to biomarker testing for Medicaid enrollees, which accounts for more than 1.6 Coloradans, according to the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. 

“Biomarker testing can be game changing for many cancer patients,” said R.J. Ours, ACS CAN Colorado government relations director. “While we are thrilled that soon more cancer patients with private insurance may have access to the biomarker testing they need, there is still more work to do. We plan to continue our work on this issue in 2025 to ensure Medicaid enrollees have equitable access to testing, as well.”

Biomarker testing is critical to unlocking precision medicine, including targeted therapies, which can improve survivorship and quality of life for cancer patients and others with serious illnesses. In addition, biomarker testing could help patients save invaluable time, physical and emotional strain, and money by avoiding treatments that are likely to be ineffective or unnecessary.  
Additionally, over 60% of oncology drugs launched in the past five years require or recommend biomarker testing before use. However, insurance coverage for biomarker testing is failing to keep pace with innovations and advancements in treatment.  
Cancer patients and survivors overwhelmingly agree – biomarker testing has improved their treatment. 

According to a survey conducted by ACS CAN, over three-quarters of those who have had biomarker testing say it gave their providers valuable information that improved their ability to treat the patient’s cancer. 53% say they are more likely to recover because of the biomarker testing. Half say they were able to avoid unnecessary treatments or procedures because they had biomarker testing. 

In 2024, nearly 30,000 Coloradans are projected to be diagnosed with cancer, an increase from 2023. 

To date, several states across the country have passed legislation expanding access to biomarker testing, including our neighboring state of New Mexico. 

More Press Releases AboutAccess to Biomarker Testing, Colorado

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Alex Wiles
Sr. Regional Media Advocacy Manager
Las Vegas, NV