BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual

Genetic Testing for Mental Health Conditions

Does Not Apply to Commercial Genetic Testing Program effective 6/1/2018


Individual genes and genetic variances have been associated with certain mental health disorders. Individual and panel genetic tests have been proposed as a diagnostic tool and a predictor of risk for several mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, depression, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance-related and addictive disorders. Genetic variants that have been implicated in mental health disorders include, but are not limited to:

Commercially available testing panels include several of these genes (e.g. Prove Opioid Risk assay, Mental Health DNA Insightpanel) and are intended to aid in the risk assessment or diagnosis of mental health disorders. 

Note: For genetic testing associated with appropriate medications and their dosing see MCG Psychotropic Medication Pharmacogenetics – Gene Panels ACG: A-0861 (AC).




Although studies have suggested that there may be a number of genetic variants associated with increased risk of mental health disorders, estimates of the increased risk vary across studies. Evidence is needed showing that testing for variants in these genes leads to changes in clinical management.


BlueCross BlueShield Association. Medical Policy Reference Manual. (6:2016). Genetic testing for diagnosis and management of mental health conditions (2.04.110). Retrieved June 27, 2018 from BlueWeb. (71 articles and/or guidelines reviewed)

Dubovsky, S. (2016, April) The limitations of genetic testing in psychiatry. Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics, 85:129-135. (Level 5 evidence)

Gatt, J., Burton, K., Williams, L., & Schofield, P. (2015). Specific and common genes implicated across major mental disorders: a review of meta-analysis studies. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 60, 1-13. Abstract retrieved July 18, 2016 from PubMed database.

Jiang, H., Qiao, F., Li, Z., Zhang, Y., Cheng, Y., Xu, X., & Yu, L. (2015). Evaluating the association between CACNA1C rs1006737 and schizophrenia risk: a meta-analysis. Asia Pacific Psychiatry, 7 (3), 260-267. Abstract retrieved July 18, 2016 from PubMed database.

Liu, L., Fan, D., Ding, H., Hu, Y., Cai, G., Wang, L., et al. (2014). The relationship between DRD2 gene polymorphisms (C957T and C939T) and schizophrenia: a meta-analysis. Neuroscience Letters, 583, 43-48. Abstract retrieved July 18, 2016 from PubMed database.

McGrath, L., Cornelis, M., Lee, P., Robinson, E., Duncan, L., Barnett, J., et. al., (2013) Genetic predictors of risk and resilience in psychiatric disorders: A cross-disorder genome-wide association study of functional impairment in major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 0 (8): 779–788. (Level 1 evidence)




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