Vol 25, No 6 (2020)
Original research articles
Published online: 2020-11-01

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Evidence-based methodology for obtaining commercial insurance coverage of stereotactic radiosurgery for intractable epilepsy

Shearwood McClelland1, Vivek Verma2
DOI: 10.1016/j.rpor.2020.08.009
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2020;25(6):899-901.

Abstract

Objectives

The coverage policies of many commercial insurers in the United States do not include coverage of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for intractable epilepsy despite recent Level I evidence supporting its efficacy. We sought to assess the efficacy of an evidence-based methodology in obtaining coverage approval of SRS for intractable epilepsy.

Patients and Methods

The clinical policy guidelines from five of the largest United States commercial insurers were reviewed for their language regarding coverage of SRS for epilepsy. An evidence-based questionnaire was created for temporal lobe epilepsy and extratemporal lobe epilepsy based on recent evidence. Telephone interviewers of Insurers assessed the likelihood of SRS coverage for an epilepsy patient meeting the clinical inclusion criteria in the questionnaire. This likelihood was assessed numerically based on interviewee response (2 = yes, 1 = dependent on peer-to-peer, 0 = no).

Results

Of the five policy guidelines, none included literature more recent than 2017. For TLE, 3/5 insurance companies indicated likely SRS coverage; 2/5 indicated peer-to-peer discussion dependence for patients meeting questionnaire criteria for a score of 8/10. For extratemporal TLE, 2/5 companies indicated likely SRS coverage and 3/5 indicated peer-to-peer discussion dependence for a total score of 7/10.

Conclusion

Creation of an evidence-based methodology in approaching commercial insurers greatly increased the likelihood of SRS coverage for an indication (intractable epilepsy) widely perceived as investigational. These results should pave the way for epilepsy patients to receive coverage should they be appropriate SRS candidates.

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Reports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy