Ambitious diagnostics company Theranos has signed a deal with AmeriHealth, the Medicaid plan network owned in majority by Independence Blue Cross, to bring its low-cost blood testing to Medicaid patients.
The announcement comes on the heels of another retail store partnership with Capital Blue Cross in Pennsylvania.
AmeriHealth Caritas members in 16 states and Washington D.C. will be able to access “clinician-directed laboratory testing” using Theranos’ wide spectrum of laboratory tests that rely on smaller blood samples drawn from a finger, with results in hours and prices pegged at no more than half of what Medicare pays.
AmeriHealth Caritas was created by the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia in the 1980s as a way to bring primary care to Medicaid patients going to the emergency department for basic health services. In 1996, Independence Blue Cross took a joint stake in AmeriHealth, along with Mercy Health System, and then in 2011 the insurer became the majority owner, while BCBS of Michigan bought a minority stake. Today, the company manages Medicaid plans, behavioral health and pharmacy benefits for more than 6 million Americans.
Holmes started Theranos in 2003, leaving behind a microbiology degree at Stanford University, and the company is now valued at around $9 billion, based on its potential to upend the established laboratory testing market.
The company has its own branded Theranos Wellness Centers located in Arizona, California and Pennsylvania. The Cleveland Clinic is also working with Theranos to study the potential for its technology.