April 18, 2023, Washington, DC. – The Coalition for Access to Prenatal Screening (CAPS) applauds North Carolina Medicaid’s expansion and modernization of coverage for cell-free DNA (cfDNA)-based noninvasive prenatal screening (NIPS) to all women regardless of their risk factors, income, or age, with no prior authorization. With this NIPS policy update, North Carolina joins twenty-nine other state Medicaid programs in providing NIPS to all who seek screening. North Carolina Medicaid has renewed their commitment to comprehensive prenatal care by providing access to all pregnant persons within North Carolina Medicaid. CAPS has engaged with the agency throughout the process and is encouraged to see expanded coverage in the state.
NIPS represents a major advancement in screening for common fetal chromosomal aneuploidies through the analysis of millions of cfDNA fragments in the blood of a pregnant person. Chromosomal aneuploidies are characterized by an abnormal number of chromosomes, which may cause genetic disorders in a newborn baby, including some birth defects. Prenatal screening for chromosomal aneuploidies using analysis of serum proteins has been the standard of care for decades. However, cfDNA-based NIPS has become the preferred method of prenatal screening for many healthcare providers and patients since its introduction to clinical practice in 2011.
Numerous professional organizations, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis (ISPD), the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), and the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) have recognized cfDNA-based NIPS as a screening option for all pregnancies, given appropriate patient counseling regarding the performance, risks and benefits of such testing.
Over half of all state Medicaid programs now cover NIPS for all their Medicaid eligible recipients. We look forward to working with other state Medicaid programs to further expand their policies to ensure all women in the state receive comprehensive, modernized prenatal care.
To learn more about cfDNA-based NIPS and CAPS, visit https://capsprenatal.com/.