About Counsyl

By HighYa Staff
Published on: Feb 7, 2014

In business since 2008, Counsyl is a genetic testing company who can screen you and your spouse for 100+ genetic diseases that could be passed on to your children. The company compares their services to “an ultrasound for your genes,” and claims that their goal is “to make the human genome practically useful for life-altering decisions.”

Counsyl was founded in 2007, and has been featured in TechCrunch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek, and more. The company holds an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, and just three closed complaints over the past 36 months. Regarding their services specifically, online reviews appeared to be mostly positive, with the most common complaint that the costs were not covered by insurance.

How Counsyl Works

According to the Counsyl website, the vast majority of us are carriers of one genetic defect or another. This typically isn’t a big deal though, since we need two sets of the same defective gene (one from each of our parents) in order to experience any negative symptoms. However, when we decide to have children of our own, we need to be mindful of any genetic defects that our partner may have that could be passed on.

Because most parents of children who are suffering from genetic diseases have no family history of that disease, Counsyl can screen you and your spouse for more than 100 genetic disorders, including Cystic Fibrosis, Fragile X Syndrome, some types of epilepsy, and much more. While there are thousands of genetic diseases, Counsyl claims they focus on the 100 that are most “actionable,” meaning that, regardless of the symptoms they exhibit, they can help you “plan for a healthy family.”

Having your genes tested through Counsyl is a simple three-step process:

  1. Have one tube of blood drawn, place your order, and your genes are then analyzed.
  2. Your physician is provided with the results of your analysis, and with their permission, they’re released to you.
  3. Counsyl’s genetic counselors can guide you through the results at no additional charge. In addition, the company also offers clinical support.

Overall, Counsyl claims that less than 1% of their clients are carriers of the same genetic disease. However, for those who are, this translates into a 25% chance that your children will be affected with symptoms of that disease.

Related: Harmony Prenatal Test Review

Counsyl Pricing

If you have health insurance, Counsyl claims you will typically pay no more than $99 to have your test performed. Without insurance, the same test will cost you $599.

If you pay for Counsyl’s testing service using a credit card (versus going through insurance), you’ll be eligible for a full refund if you contact support@counsyl.com and cancel your order prior to shipment. Once it’s been shipped, it can be returned unopened, but you’ll be subject to a $50 processing fee.

Pros:

  • Using just one vial of blood, claims to be able to screen for more than 100 genetic diseases.
  • Simple three-step process.
  • Genetic counselors available to discuss your results at no additional charge.
  • Primarily positive online reviews.

Cons:

  • Counsyl’s test is not universal – there are thousands of genetic diseases (not just 100).
  • Expensive, and may not be covered by all insurance plans.

Editor's Note: This article was published on Feb 7, 2014 based on publicly available information at the time of the research. Information is subject to change, please visit www.counsyl.com for the latest details.

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24 Customer Reviews for Counsyl

Average Customer Rating: 1.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 2 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 2 1 star:  19
Bottom Line: 13% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 24
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  • Horrible customer service

    • Seattle, WA,
    • Aug 14, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    In April, I used Counsyl through my Maternal Fetal Medicine Office for a 10-week pregnancy genetics screening. I authorized Counsyl to bill my insurance companies (I'm double covered). In May I started receiving invoices, but they were not really invoices. It was "you can pay this" or "we can bill insurance, and you may have to pay more." I called the company and spoke with a customer service rep and explained I wanted them to bill insurance, for the second time.

    I stopped receiving invoices. It is now August, and I've received another invoice and in the past two days been bombarded with calls from their billing office regarding my "open invoice." I explained to the customer service rep that I have authorized TWICE that they bill insurance. She was very persistent in telling me I may have to pay more, I again explained I wish for them to bill insurance. They still have NOT. She said they would as she would like the open invoiced cleared up. I reminded her the bill will be cleared once they actually do what they are told.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 14, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello Steph,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl. We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far. We would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with the title "HighYa Review" and your contact information at your earliest convenience and we'd be happy to have a member of our team reach out to you.

      We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • Great customer service

    • South Carolina,
    • Aug 2, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Sad to read so many negative reviews. My mom was critically ill overseas, and I emailed Counsyl to see if I could expedite results to share with her while I was visiting. I wasn't made any promises, but results did arrive in record time. I was able to share with Mom, and so glad she made it home to await our little one with us!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 3, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hi Lindsay,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Our patients are the driving force behind everything we do, and creating a positive patient experience is very important to us. We are thrilled to hear that our support team was able to assist you to the best of their ability. We value your feedback and will continue our efforts on creating the best experience possible for all patients moving forward.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Dishonest, unhelpful, stressful experience

    • Boise, ID,
    • Jul 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    This company is completely dishonest! They told my doctor what the "total out-of-pocket maximum" would be for my testing, even if my insurance didn't pay anything. They also assured both me and my doctor that since I have excellent, Federal Government insurance, that my test would likely be covered in full. But before they would bill my insurance they made me do genetic counseling via e-visit with a company called Genescreen out of New Jersey. I had to pay Genescreen for the counseling. The counselor concluded that yes, genetic testing was highly recommended.

    Counsyl billed my insurance, and it was completely denied. So they billed me for the "total out-of-pocket maximum" that they had told both me and my doctor. But I had already paid Genescreen for a service that Counsyl required me to do! Obviously, this raised my total quite a bit. Further, my insurance claimed that Counsyl had not done their due diligence in getting prior authorization, which is why it was denied. Counsyl claims they did ask, but the prior authorization was denied. If the prior authorization was denied, why wasn't I informed of that BEFORE they ran the testing? Or BEFORE they required genetic counseling?

    I have spoken with numerous people to try to get this resolved. My favorite quote, by Laura, supposedly a supervisor, "We can't be liable for what other companies (Genescreen) charge you for their services or for what our sales rep told your doctor (about maximum cost)."

    This whole process has caused me a ton of stress, and my results came back negative. With negative results and excellent health insurance, this process should have been essentially stress-free, which it has been anything but!

    Also, I have reached out to Attiana who responds to all the negative reviews on here, acting as though she will help them resolve the problem. It's been over a week, and she has not responded.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Jul 24, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      Thank you for providing your feedback. My name is Attiana and I am a member of the Client Services team at Counsyl. We are sorry to hear that your Counsyl experience did not meet your expectations. This is not the kind of experience we want for any patient, and we would like to try to understand any issues you encountered. It is our goal to always provide excellent service.

      We understand that you may have reached out to us previously. However, due to the nature of this site, we are unable to identify you or review your inquiry based on your feedback post. Therefore, we hope you would be open to reaching out to us again so that we may address your concerns.

      In order to provide the most prompt response, please send an email to socialmedia@counsyl.com with the title “HighYa Review” and provide us with your contact information so that we may reach out to you directly. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you.

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Very rough service

    • Boston, MA,
    • Jul 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    We used Counsyl because it was (newly) recommended by one of Boston's biggest and best-known research hospitals. Nearly every step of the process was problematic. Here we go:

    1. We were advised we would get a chance to pre-approve each test with knowledge of cost in advance, which wasn't true. They ran multiple tests with neither authority nor our knowledge, then billed us for $350 per test.

    2. They claimed they couldn't reach us; however, our names, address, telephone numbers, and email addresses were clearly all over the file.

    3. When we tried to reach customer service, they were nearly impossible to get ahold of and, when we finally did, they were unhelpful and just kept demanding money.

    4. It took multiple emails to the CEO (who hides his email address, no surprise) then finally an English-speaking customer service representative called us back and after 20 minutes of angry arguing "kindly" comped the unauthorized tests and bills.

    5. Their customer service rep said they receive many, many complaints and service had been a real problem; however, they thought they were making progress.

    When we consulted with an expert, the chairman of a department of genetics at Harvard's main teaching hospital, he said he found Counsyl's services and knowledge dubious. He opined that their pitches were long on tech B.S. and low on genetics knowledge. He didn't recommend them but did recommend their oldest competitor, GeneDX.

    That was our experience. Stay away.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Jul 11, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello Eric,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl. We strive to provide a positive patient experience, and sincerely apologize if your experience was anything less. We would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please send us an email to support@counsyl.com with the title “HighYa Review” and provide us with your contact information so that we may reach out to you directly. We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Disappointing customer service and lie

    • Rochester, Minnesota,
    • Jun 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    It's been over two weeks waiting for my test results. Every phone call made to the company has been less than helpful. They could not even give me the simple courtesy of looking into the delay in results. The customer service representative would not pick up the phone to call the laboratory. And I was told that she was the highest level employee as her manager was out to lunch.

    I would not recommend Counsyl to any of my friends, family members, or future patients who are relying on these results to make medical decisions. It's just another genetics startup company where the CEO is prospering and getting rich. It's all about money, unfortunately!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Jun 5, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl. We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far, and I would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with the title "HighYa Review" and your contact information at your earliest convenience and we'd be happy to have a member of our team reach out to you.

      We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Did NOT consent

    I did not consent to have my health information or blood shared with this company. For the first few emails, I marked them as "spam" because my (EX) doctor never mentioned them and I had no idea who they were. I don't know if this is some sort of scam where they give kickbacks to doctors for authorizing screenings, but my health insurance claimed it was "medically unnecessary," and I was stuck with an invoice of $350 even though my insurance fully covers preventative prenatal care.

    My rights as a patient were violated when my personal information was given to a third party company, and a wider list of screens was performed without my consent.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • May 31, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl. We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far, and I would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with the title "HighYa Review" and your contact information at your earliest convenience and we'd be happy to have a member of our team reach out to you.

      We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Tired of waiting.

    I thought this was a good idea. But I was told a week. It's been over a week. I called and emailed to see how much longer, but nobody has returned anything. At that rate, I could have waited and paid for better service and just gotten an ultrasound and then done the testing.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Good idea, poor execution

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Apr 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    First: The tests themselves. I'm not certain why Counsyl offers the tests that they do. One of them tests only a very limited number of things, literally just a couple trisomies and fragile X syndrome. That cost $350.

    Because I spend a significant amount of time in 2 different parts of the country, I have 2 OBs, and after hearing that I took the Counsyl test, my second OB recommended that I get another test done. It cost maybe $100, it tests a far larger range of things (something like 300 diseases), and it quantifies your risk, rather than just saying low vs. high risk.

    As my OB pointed out, well, what is low risk? What someone may consider low risk, you may consider uncomfortably high. And recommendations/cut-offs may change over time, but a number is more concrete. I think it's questionable for a company to charge so much for a test that looks for so little, and doesn’t give terribly useful information — when there are clearly other tests out there that do much more for less.

    Very poorly run. They couldn't pull up all of my results.

    Then, they called me for payment. I've paid every bill they've sent, but they DIDN'T HAVE MY RESULTS. Maybe they should look into that. When I pointed this out to the representative, then he suddenly realized that, hey, maybe it's their problem.

    Finally, the phlebotomists that they contract are very hit or miss. Our first one was really sweet and went out of his way to help us while we were out of the country, going so far as to contact our physician for us. I even wrote to Counsyl about him, saying how much I appreciated his service. The second one was, frankly, a b****. She couldn't figure out how to get to my apartment, so she gave me a bunch of attitude over the phone.

    My apartment isn't that difficult to find, we had no problem finding it when we drove in from out-of-state to look at it the first time, seeing as there aren't that many buildings at that intersection or on those blocks to begin with, and only one of them is an apartment. Yet, she kept ranting like this was my fault.

    Here's a hint: Do your research beforehand on the internet, rather than blaming other people. It's not like you didn't know beforehand that you had to drive out to a client's place. Putting my address in shows you a picture of the building front you're looking for, especially since it's actually a pretty famous/historical building, so there's not much excuse there.

    When she came to my unit, I asked her to put on booties, and she gave me more crap by saying, “Seriously?” with attitude. Yes, seriously. Your entire job consists of drawing blood at a time and location convenient to your client. I'm sure plenty of people choose their homes, and many people, particularly if they are Asian, remove shoes in the house. I didn't even ask her to do that. I merely asked her to put on booties, which, as a medical worker, you should be entirely familiar with.

    Then, she dropped one of my vials, cracking it and spilling blood all over my floor, contaminating my sample. I get that things happen, but she wasn't even very communicative afterwards about if the remaining vial contained enough blood for my test. I had to get that information from a Counsyl representative directly. Basically, this woman had a terrible attitude. I can overlook the mishaps, but not when you're behaving the way that you are, and not in my home.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 25, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl. We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far, and I would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with the title "HighYa Review" and your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

    • May 9, 2017

      Dmisc

      First, in regards to the tests themselves. I'm not certain why Counsyl offers the tests that they do. One of them tests only a limited number of things, literally just a couple trisomies, and fragile X-syndrome which costs $350. I spend a significant amount of time in two different parts of the country, so I have two obstetricians. After hearing that I took the Counsyl test, my second obstetrician recommended that I get another test done. It cost maybe $100, and it tests a much wider range of things, about 300 diseases. It also quantifies your risk, rather than just saying low versus high risk.

      As my obstetrician pointed out, "well, what is low risk?" What someone may consider low risk, you may consider uncomfortably high. Recommendation and cut-off ranges may change over time, but a number is more concrete. I think it's questionable, for a company to charge so much for a test that doesn’t give terribly useful information and does not test for a wide variety of things. When there are clearly other tests out there that do much more for a better price.

      My first obstetrician recommended two Counsyl tests for me to take, bringing the total cost of Counsyl tests to over $400, but adding only a single disease. I also have serious doubts that this additional disease wasn't already covered by the one recommended by my other obstetrician because cystic fibrosis is a common and known disease. Counsyl tests seem to be a really bad value.

      I also think the company is very poorly run. They couldn't pull up all of my results. Then, they called me for payment. I've paid every bill you've sent, but you didn't have my results. Maybe you should look into that. When I pointed this out to the representative, and he didn’t see my test there either. He suddenly realized "hey, maybe it's our problem."

      Finally, the phlebotomists that they contracted with are a hit or miss. Our first one was sweet and went out of his way to help us while we were out of the country, going so far as contacting our physician for us. I even wrote to Counsyl about him, saying how much I appreciated his service.

      The second one was, frankly very unpleasant. She couldn't figure out how to get to my apartment and gave me a bunch of attitude over the phone. My apartment isn't that difficult to find, and we had no problem finding it when we drove in from out-of-state to look at it the first time. There aren't many buildings at that intersection or on those blocks, to begin with, only one of them is an apartment. She kept ranting like this was my fault. Here's a hint, do your research beforehand on the internet, rather than blaming other people. It's not like you didn't know that you had to drive out to a client's place. So put in my address, then it will show you a picture of the front of the building you're looking for. There's not much excuse there, especially since it is a pretty famous historical building.

      When she came to my unit, I asked her to put on booties, and she gave me more crap, saying, "Seriously?" with attitude. Yes, seriously. Your entire job consists of drawing blood one at a time and having a location that is convenient for your client. I'm sure plenty of people choose their homes, and many people, particularly if they are Asian remove shoes in the house. I didn't even ask you to do that. I merely asked you to put on booties, which as a medical worker, you should be entirely familiar with that.

      Then, she dropped one of my vials, cracking it and spilling blood all over my floor, contaminating my sample. I get that things happen, but she wasn't even communicating afterward. Especially, about the remaining vial if it contained enough blood for my test. I had to get that information from a Counsyl representative directly. Basically, this woman had a terrible attitude. I can overlook the mishaps, but not when you're behaving the way that you are, and not in my home.

    • May 11, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl. We see that you have updated your review and would be happy to speak with you to address your additional concerns. Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with the title "HighYa Review" and your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Awful experience and a total waste of time

    • Washington DC,
    • Apr 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Three weeks ago, I did the Counsyl Family Prep screening. I tested positive for one autosomal recessive condition, DPD deficiency. Counsyl then recommended that my husband be tested. After 2.5 weeks of waiting for results, we just received them, and learned that Counsyl did not test my husband for this condition, "based on patient's reported ethnicity."

    This is nonsense because both my husband and I are Caucasians with ancestry in Northern Europe. In other words, if they bothered to test me, it makes no sense that they would not test him.

    The report is also completely useless to us because it tells me that I am a carrier and that my husband's carrier status is "unknown" (again, because they did not test him).

    The entire Counsyl test has been a complete waste of time, money, and worry to us, and we are no better informed after this test than we were before it. Shame on Counsyl. This borders on malpractice.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 14, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl.

      We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far, and I would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Dishonest

    • New York,
    • Apr 12, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid out of pocket for this test, only to find out that there are different panels and that my husband and I got tested on different panels. Therefore, I need to repeat the test and pay again. They won't even wave the fee the second time. They have the market cornered, but they need better customer service.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 12, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana and I am a member of the Client Services team at Counsyl.

      We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far and would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Dishonest company

    • Florida,
    • Apr 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid an upfront co-pay at the lab, and no other cost was ever indicated. Then I received an invoice via email for $349. I would never have agreed to the test with this price tag attached. Dishonest at best, a scam at worst. My phone calls and emails have not been returned.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 7, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hi Heather,

      My name is Attiana and I am a member of the Client Services team at Counsyl. We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far and would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

      Thank you for your time,

      Attiana

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