Frequently Asked Questions about Genetic Counseling

Find answers to frequently asked questions about genetic counseling here.

Following are many of the frequently asked questions regarding genetic testing and counseling.


How do you assess risk for breast cancer in patients who come to Invision Sally Jobe for breast imaging exams?

We ask two questions about each patient:

  1. Is this patient a candidate for genetic counseling/testing for the most common type of hereditary breast cancer? This is based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for BRCA1/2 genetic testing.
  2. Is this patient a candidate to do breast MRI screening in addition to mammograms? This is based on a calculation from a model called the Tyrer-Cuzick model (also known as the IBIS Breast Cancer Risk Evaluation Tool), which is endorsed by the American Cancer Society for this purpose.

Depending on the answers to these questions, any relevant recommendations are communicated to their referring doctor(s) as part of the imaging report, as well as to the patient directly via a separate letter.

Do I need an order from my doctor for breast MRI screening and/or Screening Breast Ultrasound (SBU)?

Yes. If you are interested in either exam, it is important that you return to her referring doctor(s) to review this information with him or her. Like all procedures, breast MRI and SBU will require an order from your doctor. After the order is faxed to us, a member of our staff will contact you to schedule the procedure.

If breast MRI screening is recommended for me, will my insurance company cover that exam?

Insurance companies typically cover breast MRI screening as long as it is indicated. Prior to the appointment, we will work with your doctor and your insurance company to ensure that the breast MRI is pre-authorized. If you have problems with insurance coverage of a breast MRI screening exam, please contact our genetic counselor at (720) 493-3226.

If Screening Breast Ultrasound (SBU) is recommended for me, will my insurance company cover that exam?

Screening breast ultrasound exams are usually covered by insurance when ordered by a physician. Check with your insurance company to be sure. Please bring your insurance card with you to your exam.

Why would a visit with a genetic counselor help me? Would it change anything for me?

A genetic counselor will spend time reviewing your personal and family history of cancer and will explain what that history means for your cancer risks and those of your relatives. If genetic testing is indicated for you, she will discuss the details of that process so you can make a decision about whether the testing makes sense for you. With or without genetic testing, the genetic counselor will provide you with more personalized estimates of your cancer risks. This may lead to additional screening and medical management options that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. These options may allow for early detection and/or prevention of cancer.

Is the genetic counseling visit covered by insurance?

Most often, these visits are covered by insurance. Please contact your insurance company and ask them about your coverage for CPT code 96040. If you have further questions and/or you have financial concerns, please contact us at (720) 493-3229.

How much does genetic testing cost and is it covered by insurance?

The cost of genetic testing varies depending on the type of test. Most of the time, insurance coverage is very good as long as the genetic testing is indicated. Our genetic counselor will review your individual situation and insurance coverage with you during your visit.

Will my health insurer or employer discriminate against me based on a genetic counseling visit or genetic test results?

This is a common "urban myth" and something that prevents many people from seeking these services. However, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) makes it illegal for health insurers and employers to discriminate against someone based on genetic information. Our genetic counselor will cover this issue in detail with you during your visit.

How do I schedule an appointment with the genetic counselor? Do I need an order from my doctor?

You can call our Centralized Scheduling department at 720-493-3700. A formal referral or order from your referring physician is typically not required unless your insurance company requires referrals for specialist physician office visits.

What if I have other questions?

Please contact us at 720-493-3229 or send an email to rapp@riaco.com.

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