Governor Signs Legislation Taking First Step to Improving Access to Biomarker Testing for Floridians

Patient Advocates Pledge to Continue Work to Ensure All State-Regulated Plans Are Included

June 18, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ‑‑  Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB885 into law today, which 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. It opens the door to the use of targeted therapy, which can result in improved outcomes and quality of life, and reduced costs due to bypassing ineffective treatments.

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

In response, Susan Harbin, senior government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Florida, released the following statement:

“More than 160,000 Floridians will be diagnosed with cancer this year. We know biomarker testing plays a critical role in access to precision medicine, which can result in improved cancer outcomes and quality of life. 

“Nearly 60% of all cancer drugs approved in the last five years require or recommend biomarker testing before use. This means too many patients do not have access to the testing necessary to match them with the latest and often most effective drugs. Ensuring Floridians who could benefit have access to insurance-covered biomarker testing can help providers identify the most effective treatment, leading to a better quality of life and the best chance of survival for patients.

“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.

“ACS CAN thanks the legislature for taking this first step to expand access to biomarker testing. We will keep working with our volunteers and policymakers to bring this opportunity to the private market. All patients facing cancer and other diseases deserve to get the best possible care. We ask anyone with experience with biomarker testing to share their stories with us so we can further amplify the urgency of this issue.”

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