Insurers reluctant to cover pricey bronchial thermoplasty asthma treatment

While asthma is a common medical condition among members, many insurers are reluctant to cover bronchial thermoplasty, a $20,000 non-drug treatment, reported the Chicago Tribune

In Illinois, the state's largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), covers the procedure. UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Aetna, Cigna and Anthem don't.

BCBS changed its policy based on bronchial thermoplasty studies and noted that only a small subset of individuals with severe asthma meet the criteria, which includes demonstrating that previous asthma drug treatments didn't work, Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC) spokeswoman Lauren Perlstein told the Tribune.

Humana spokesperson Cathryn Donaldson said the insurer considers the procedure "experimental and investigational" based on the same review of studies that persuaded HCSC to cover it, according to the article.  

For more:
- here's the Tribune article