Private payer coverage policies for ApoE-e4 genetic testing

Genet Med. 2021 Apr;23(4):614-620. doi: 10.1038/s41436-020-01042-4. Epub 2021 Jan 8.


Purpose: ApoE-e4 has a well-established connection to late-onset Alzheimer disease (AD) and is available clinically. Yet, there have been no analyses of payer coverage policies for ApoE. Our objective was to analyze private payer coverage policies for ApoE genetic testing, examine the rationales, and describe supporting evidence referenced by policies.

Methods: We searched for policies from the eight largest private payers (by member numbers) covering ApoE testing for late-onset AD. We implemented content analysis methods to evaluate policies for coverage decisions and rationales.

Results: Seven payers had policies with positions on ApoE testing. Five explicitly state they do not cover ApoE and two apply generic preauthorization criteria. Rationales supporting coverage decisions include: reference to guidelines or national standards, inadequate data supporting testing, characterizing testing as investigational, or that testing would not alter patients' clinical management.

Conclusion: Seven of the eight largest private payers' coverage policies reflect standards that discourage ApoE testing due to a lack of clinical utility. As the field advances, ApoE testing may have an important clinical role, particularly considering that disease-modifying therapies are under evaluation by the US Food and Drug Administration. These types of field advancements may not be consistent with private payers' policies and may cause payers to reevaluate existing coverage policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage*
  • Policy
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Apolipoproteins E