- Genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer is not your typical employee benefit, but some Silicon Valley employers, and now Visa, the credit card company, offer it, according to Fortune
- The testing is done by Color Genomics, a San Francisco-based startup. For the month of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), employers pay for at least half the cost of $199 (normally $249).
- Employer-sponsored genetic testing in general is an emerging trend. For example, a pilot program from Aetna offers genetic testing to group customers for metabolic issues related to weight gain.
In the case of genetic testing for ovarian and breast cancer, employees use home-based kit that they mail into Color Genomics, which then analyzes, among other genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, the two gene mutations related to breast and ovarian cancer. Depending on those results, employees can work with "board-certified genetic counselors at Color" in creating a treatment plan and enrolling in a screening prevention plan as well.
Creative benefits are becoming more and more in demand as employers try to differentiate themselves in the ongoing battle for talent, especially in the technology industry. But with Visa joining in this effort, it shows that unusual but much appreciated benefits are not only happening among high-tech employers — a trend that no doubt will continue within certain employer groups.