Shares in Exact Sciences Rise on UnitedHealthcare Coverage Decision

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Exact Sciences saw its stock price rise late Tuesday on news that the health insurer UnitedHealthcare will cover Cologuard, Exact’s stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer, starting July 1.

Shares in Madison, WI-based Exact (NASDAQ: EXAS) were trading at $35.30 apiece as of 7:47 p.m. in New York, up more than 8.1 percent from Tuesday’s closing price of $32.65 per share.

In June 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made changes to how it classifies colorectal cancer screening methods. The task force recommended that patients between the ages of 50 and 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. This came as welcome news for Exact, which said it paved the way for physicians and insurers to “receive the benefits given to ‘A’-rated preventive services.”

In its commercial coverage determination guideline, UnitedHealthcare cites the task force’s recommendation from June related to “A”-rated colorectal cancer screening methods.

UnitedHealthcare, part of Minnetonka, MN-based UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), is the latest large commercial insurer to announce a positive coverage decision for Cologuard in the past year. Others include Aetna (NYSE: AET), Humana (NYSE: HUM), and Cigna (NYSE: CI).