OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure that helps more Oklahomans access medical biomarker tests has been signed into law.

Biomarker testing is a method that uses a sample of blood or tissue to check for certain genes, proteins, or other molecules that could signal a disease, like cancer.

Doctors can use biomarker testing to select treatments that are most likely to help patients while preventing them from undergoing unnecessary treatments.

However, biomarker testing is often stopped because of insurance barriers.

According to a survey cited by Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, 66% of oncology providers reported that insurance coverage has been a significant or moderate barrier to biomarker testing.

The largest insurance group for state employees recently estimated the cost would only be 14 to 23 cents a month per employee.

“Biomarker tests help doctors determine the best treatment for a patient from the very beginning. They’re predominately used in cancer care, but are increasingly important for other diseases like arthritis and other autoimmune conditions and rare diseases, with additional research underway for Alzheimer’s and more,” Rosino said. “These tests save time, money and improve survivorship and quality of life. This is a tremendous step forward as we work to improve health outcomes in Oklahoma.”


Oklahoma Politics

Senate Bill 513 would increase access to biomarker testing for patients.

“As a cancer survivor myself, I know firsthand that the one thing a cancer patient doesn’t have is time. With cancer being the second leading cause of death in Oklahoma, we must remove barriers to biomarker testing to ensure all patients benefit from the best possible care,” Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, said.  “I’m happy to be a part of the effort to deliver targeted therapies and precision medicine for the highest level of effectiveness for the thousands of Oklahomans in the cancer battle, survivors and previvors.”

SB 513 will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.