- Theranos plans to partner with Capital BlueCross of Harrisburg, PA to provide direct-to-consumer blood testing options to 1.3 million enrollees.
- Theranos' recently FDA-approved technology can screen for hundreds of diseases and conditions with only a finger prick's worth of blood, the company claims, at prices set at no more than half of what Medicare pays.
- The tests have already been made available direct-to-consumers and to physicians at Walgreens clinics in Palo Alto, California and throughout Arizona. In Central Pennsylvania, the tests will be available at Capital BlueCross's health and wellness retail stores and through a network of Theranos Wellness Centers.
Elizabeth Holmes' blood tests have been hailed as great disruptors to healthcare and use continues to expand—although this year she has begun to face some, if not outright criticism, questions. Theranos has not published any peer-reviewed studies nor has it allowed independent labs to vet its processes, citing the need to protect its intellectual property. The result is that some industry experts have begun to ask: Does it work?
"It's impossible to comment on how good this is going to be—it may be wonderful and it may bomb, but I really can't be more definitive because there's nothing to really look at, to read, to react to," Dr. David Koch, president of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and a professor at Emory University, told Business Insider in April.
Nevertheless, Holmes appears to be selling providers on her product—the company signed a strategic alliance with the Cleveland Clinic earlier this year.
"Our members will have easy access to best quality and most convenient testing and will know up front how much their out of pocket payments may be, including precise deductibles," said Capital BlueCross CEO Gary St. Hilaire. "As an insurance provider, it is important for us to partner with companies who are using innovation to address and solve the toughest problems in healthcare."
Worth noting: Theranos' growth capacity is somewhat limited by states that don't allow DTC testing. Ten states (including Arizona until this month) allow consumers limited access to testing without a provider's authorization. Twenty-seven states plus D.C. allow consumers to order tests directly, and 13 states prohibit testing entirely without a physician order, according to Theranos.