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Founded in 2015, Color is a health technology company that offers DNA testing directly to individuals as well through health care providers, employers, and other professionals. As a population genomics company, Color has three main goals, as stated on its website: 

  • Clinical-grade sequencing for clinically actionable genes
  • Population-agnostic sequencing for statistical genetics
  • Raw sequencing data for the desired option-value on future research or commercial applications

All Color genetic tests are ordered by a doctor. This can be through your own physician, or, if you are shopping for a testing product on your own, you can also just pay a $15 fee as part of your purchase on the Color website for an independent physician to order the test.

Because tests have to be ordered by a doctor, Color does work with insurance billing; however, to be eligible, you need to have your test ordered by your own doctor. Color's genetic testing labs are CAP-accredited and CLIA-certified. 

Customers can expect to receive results within about four weeks of the lab processing their samples. You will also get email updates on the status of your testing results. 

Color has created a program called “Color for All” that works with cancer clinics to offer free genetic testing to underserved community members. The genetics company is also working on several research projects with the following institutions: 

  • Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics at the University of Chicago Medical Center
  • Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center
  • Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease
  • The Genetic Medicine Clinic at the University of Washington Medical Center
  • UCSD Family Cancer Genetics Program
  • UCSF Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program

Keep reading our Color genomics review to learn more about the pros and cons of using this DNA testing company. 

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The Good

  • Clinical-Grade Testing
  • Discount Offers
  • Physician-Ordered Tests
  • In-Depth Test Reports
  • Free Genetic Counseling
  • Privacy
  • Fast Results
  • Color Discovery

Clinical-Grade Testing

Color offers some of the lowest-cost clinical-grade testing available in the marketplace. It uses custom-built software and a specially designed automated lab for genetic sequencing. 

Compared to recreational DNA testing companies, Color’s genetic screening tests are more thorough and include medical input and family history information to help understand and interpret the results. Medical professionals can use the genetic testing results to better inform treatment plans and lifestyle choices. 

Color tests focus on cancer risk, heart health, and medication response. You can choose between three testing products including Color Standard, Color Hereditary Cancer Test, and Color Extended. Color Extended is the most comprehensive test compared to the other options. 

Color Standard (only available through healthcare providers or employers)

Color Standard (only available through healthcare providers or employers). Employers can use this test as an additional company benefit for employees. This test covers the CDC's 10 most actionable genes for public health: 

  • BRCA1            
  • BRCA2           
  • MLH1          
  • MSH2          
  • MSH6           
  • PMS2         
  • EPCAM
  • APOB
  • LDLR
  • PCSK9

It also tests for 14 genes related to commonly prescribed medications and 3 genes linked to high cholesterol. 

Color Hereditary Cancer Test 

This test analyzes the top 30 genes that help people understand their risk for the most common hereditary cancers. Some of the common cancers include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, melanoma, and pancreatic cancer. 

This test does not include any of the heart health or medication recommendations. 

Color Extended 

Color Extended offers everything in the Standard, the Hereditary Cancer Test, the Medication Response Genetic Test, and the Hereditary Heart Health Test. This option is best for customers who want a comprehensive overview of their genetic health and risk.

Discount Offers

There are several discount offers available from Color genetic testing. 

  • Buy two and save — If you buy two or more tests in one order, you can save up to $50 on each test.
  • Testing discounts for relatives — In certain circumstances, test discounts are available for family members. When a test-taker has a mutation, it's likely that their close relatives have it too. Color offers testing to first-degree relatives — parents, siblings, and adult children of people with a covered mutation for just $50 per test. That's $199 discount on each test. 

Family members can enroll in the Family Testing Program through the Color website. Color can confirm mutations from any clinical-grade lab, DTC testing like 23andMe, and third-party raw data analysis like Promethease.

  • Discounts for existing customers — Existing Color customers can upgrade to the Color Extended test result for $100, instead of retesting for the extended panel for the full price of $249. 

Physician-Ordered Tests

Rather than just offering DTC health screening, that you order online and never talk to a doctor about, all Color tests have to be ordered by a physician. This can be done in two ways: 

  • Ordered by your own physician. If this is the case, the physician will be a point of contact to resolve any questions. If your doctor has ordered the test, they will also get results to go over them with you. 
  • Place an order online and, as a part of the Color ordering process, an independent physician will review your information and order the testing for you. The provider services are built into the test price and will add an extra fee. 

In-Dept Test Reports

Color produces in-depth results that supply you and your healthcare provider with enough information to make educated decisions. The reports Each genetic report will indicate whether a mutation has been identified in your DNA code. The following information is included in your report:  

  • Description of the highlighted mutation 
  • Scientific evidence for the link between mutation and hereditary risk 
  • Genes related to the mutation 
  • Your hereditary risk compared to the U.S. population by age 
  • Screen guidelines for specific mutation by age 
  • General recommendations for lifestyle changes 
  • Frequently asked questions about cancer 
  • Family impact
  • Color’s methodology for genetic analysis 

Free Genetic Counseling

If you take a DNA test from Color, you are eligible for a free one-on-one consultation with a board-certified Color genetic counselor or a clinical pharmacist. They can answer questions, review your test results, provide insight on how the results could impact genetic relatives, give tips for discussing the results with family members, or suggest questions you should ask your healthcare provider.

Privacy

Color gives clients control over how data is used. Its service is also HIPPA compliant. 

Anonymized genetic data is shared with public databases like ClinVar. You may also be asked to participate in research projects, but you can say no. 

Fast Results

Once your sample has arrived back at the lab for testing, the timeframe for your results to be ready in about four weeks. This is much faster than many of the ancestry companies that also offer health screening. 

Color Discovery

Customers who opt-in to the free Color Discovery service will get more DNA insights related to their genetic information which include topics like ancestry and physical traits, e.g. earwax, facial features, and taste perceptions. Discovery is currently only available to customers within the United States. 

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The Bad

  • Insurance Not Accepted for All Tests
  • Refund Policy
  • No DNA Upload Option
  • Potentially Unsettling Results

Insurance Not Accepted for All Tests

Color accepts insurance billing for some of its tests, but only when an in-office provider orders the test. Insurance billing is not currently accepted for the Color Extended test — self-pay is the only option. 

If your doctor has prescribed a Color test and you are able to use your insurance billing, please note that some insurers require prior authorization.

Refund Policy 

Color has a 30-day refund policy, as long as the sample has not yet been received by the lab. If the kit has already been shipped to you, your refund will be less shipping and a $25 cancellation fee.

No DNA Upload Option 

Some DNA testing companies give you the option to upload your raw DNA data if you have taken a test with a third-party company. A DNA upload fee is often much cheaper than purchasing a regular DNA testing kit. Color does not offer any DNA upload options for individuals who have taken a DNA test with another company. You may want to take this into consideration if you have already purchased one or more DNA tests from competitors. 

Potentially Unsettling Results

Color’s genetic testing results can be difficult to interpret for the average person. Customers can take advantage of the free genetic counseling offered with the purchase of a test. Customers consider waiting till you can meet with a genetic counselor or healthcare provider before trying to interpret their own results.

Tests related to hereditary risk can cause added worry and stress for individuals who discover a genetic mutation. A licensed professional will be able to help you determine if any lifestyle adjustments should be made and the level of risk. 

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The Bottom Line

Color specializes in clinical-grade genetic testing for hereditary health risks related to cancer and heart health. The company works with individuals, providers, and employers to offer testing at different access points. You can talk to your primary care doctor to order a genetic test or request a test through Color’s physician network. Once your sample has been returned to the lab, it only takes about four weeks for your results to be available online. 

Color offers additional benefits such as physician-ordered tests and one-on-one genetic counseling sessions. Customers should consider the total cost of the test before ordering. Insurance will not cover test costs if they are requested online or if a patient orders the Color Extended test. 

Color has a refund policy for those who change their mind after ordering the test. However, you need to cancel your test within 30 days of purchase to receive a refund. 

Have you used Color's genetic testing? Let us know about your experience with a quick review below.

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