Florida Legislature Passes Bill Taking First Step to Expand Access to Biomarker Testing

Bill Stops Short of Requiring Coverage for Private Market

March 6, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – March 6, 2024 – The Florida legislature passed a bill late Tuesday that expands patient access to biomarker testing, a key tool used by physicians to identify the most effective treatment of cancer and other diseases. In the case of a cancer diagnosis, biomarker testing allows doctors to develop a personalized treatment plan so patients may not have to undergo unsuccessful treatments. It can help save critical time in a cancer fight.

The legislation acts as a first step but stops short of requiring coverage for the private market, creating an opportunity for lawmakers to broaden access in the future.

The bill requires coverage for biomarker testing when supported by scientific and medical evidence under Florida Medicaid and state employee health insurance plans. However, it leaves out those covered by state-regulated private health insurance plans on the marketplace, which often include tourism, hospitality and agriculture employees who aren’t offered coverage through an employer.

“Over the past few months, we have heard countless stories of difficulties patients face in attempting to access this critical testing. It’s time for that to change,” said Susan Harbin, Florida Senior Government Relations Director at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “We have seen biomarker testing help people get more effective treatment that improves their chances of survival. For that reason, we urge lawmakers to continue the work to ensure anyone covered by a state-regulated health insurance plan has access to the biomarker testing they need. There is more to do to keep people from being left behind,” Harbin said.

In 2024, nearly 50,000 Floridians will die from cancer. Improved access to biomarker testing can connect patients to the most effective treatments, enabling them to live longer and have a better quality of life.

“Biomarker testing completely changed my treatment plan,” said ACS CAN volunteer Lori Weinstock, who has lung cancer and has been on a beneficial personalized treatment plan since her biomarker testing in 2021. Weinstock’s insurance initially denied her testing coverage.

“ACS CAN thanks the legislature for taking this first step to expand access to biomarker testing,” Harbin added. “We will keep working with policymakers to bring this opportunity to the private market. All patients facing cancer and other diseases deserve to get the best possible care.”

Media Contacts

Stacy Jacobson
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager