From fashion, to homeland security and the presidential election, the media has a major impact on our daily lives. Though we may not notice it happening, the media also plays a significant role in our healthcare and health management. Take for example, in 2013; Angelina Jolie announced she had a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which prompted her to undergo significant prophylactic surgeries to reduce her risks of developing breast and ovarian cancers. Angelina’s openness about her genetic status and personal health choices heavily influenced the demand for knowledge and testing for hereditary cancer throughout the United States.
Due to high media coverage and an increase in the number of individuals seeking genetic testing and counseling for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome, health insurance companies responded by improving financial coverage for individuals meeting certain testing eligibility criteria. These criteria are most commonly based on National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines and include having a personal history of breast and/or other cancers, and/or having first and second degree relatives with a history of breast, ovarian, or other cancers. The criteria and amount of coverage may vary from one insurance company to the next, and even within plans offered by the same insurance company.