Kelleher & Buckley law firm adds cancer genomic testing to benefits package

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A small Illinois-based law firm has added cancer genomic testing to its benefits package off-cycle — and is one of the first employers to do so.

Kelleher & Buckley LLC, a law firm located in the suburbs of Chicago, now offers a cancer genomic profiling program to its 48 employees. Employees receive a certificate for genomic testing through Wamberg Genomic Advisors, a California-based firm that works with U.S. labs to conduct therapeutic tests.

Although one test can cost an employee anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 out-of-pocket, the law firm pays between $8 and $15 per employee per month, says Tom Wamberg, president and CEO of Wamberg Genomic Advisors. The cost depends on the age of the employee, who doesn’t pay for the benefit, he says.

When an employee is diagnosed with cancer, they need to reach out to Wamberg Genomic Advisors to schedule the genomic profiling test; the test helps oncologists determine the best method of treatment, like immunotherapy or targeted therapy.

See also: Genetic testing threatens to increase employers’ healthcare costs

The benefit, which is targeted to self-insured employers, is also separate from medical insurance.

“The gap we can fill here is that the payers have no interest – and they’ve had seven years. We don’t see that changing anytime soon,” he says. “This is the way an employer can pay a key role.”

Jill Bogaerts, business and HR manager at Kelleher & Buckley LLC, felt similarly. As the HR manager at the small firm, she says she was aware of the health challenges her coworkers were going through but couldn’t offer much help other than support. Not only is the benefit available to the employee, but it’s also available for a spouse or dependents.

“It was more surprising that there was this level of capability and detail out there that could help guide treatment,” she says. “Now, we can give you this extra tool.”

The new benefit is part of the firm’s “robust package,” which includes health insurance, dental, long-term disability, life insurance and voluntary life, Bogaerts says.

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