About Counsyl

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.

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10 Customer Reviews for Counsyl

Average Customer Rating: 1.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 0 4 stars: 1 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 1 1 stars: 8
Bottom Line: 10% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-10 of 10
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  • So far so good

    • Florida,
    • Jun 28, 2016

    I have just used Counsyl services and I have to say everything is going ok. They sent me an email saying my insurance won't cover the genetics, so they would invoice me for $700 with a final arrangement of $350. I went in their website and applied for some financial aid, because there are more things that my insurance doesn't cover and we need to save money. They asked me some questions and then they "got my back" and I shouldn't pay for those genetics. The customer service was very helpful and the response was pretty quick.

    The only downside is that the results (at least the ones I could see in my provider portal) didn't show the ranges, just said "normal" and not any more, wish it was more explicit.

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

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Terrible experience

    • San Diego,
    • Feb 14, 2016

    My first experience with Counsyl was last year when my doctor recommended I take the test due to my age (35). It was a terrible experience since my baby had full Trisomy 13 and the genetic counselors were very short with me when I got emotional over the news. Which was disappointing, since obviously it was a terrible news that my baby had a fatal condition. As far as the billing went, it was smooth and my insurance covered in full.

    After losing that baby my husband and I decided to try again and we are now on our second pregnancy. My doctor suggested we do the test again due to our track record. This time it has been a horrible experience. I received a bill for $750 that said they contacted my insurance but had not heard back, but that if I wanted to do self pay it would go down to $349. Then at the bottom of the email it said I need a doctor's note as to WHY I need the test, even though my doctor filled out the form and they have my past records. So I called the billing and just got the run around. I was basically told I need to be the link between Counsyl and my insurance, since Sharp Healthcare doesn't have an electronic portal. Which doesn't make any sense when Sharp is the one that told me to get the test done. So now I am spending hours on the phone trying to get this resolved. It adds so much stress to an already nerve racking test. I would certainly ask your provider if there are any other companies that provide these results prior to agreeing to using Counsyl.

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

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    • Feb 19, 2016

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hi J, my name is Tracy and I'm the Director of Client Services at Counsyl. We're truly sorry to hear you had a bad experience. I'd like the opportunity to resolve this issue for you. Can I contact you directly?

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Deceiving

    • East Coast, United States,
    • Nov 3, 2015

    I was told by my doctor that Counsyl would contact me with a quote before processing my lab work, and that even if insurance didn't cover it, it would max out at $349. I got an email saying that they had already begun to process my lab work and that the total cost is $1500. When I called, Danica told me that they check online to see if your insurance is in network. If it is, the price drops to $564 but that they don't look into whether or not your benefits cover the cost, that it is up to the customer. Or you could opt to pay $349. I'm glad that I made the extra phone calls to my insurance company because it ended up being covered in full. Reading the reviews on this company, I see that other families have had the same deceiving price quotes.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Liars

    • Key west, Florida ,
    • Nov 2, 2015

    Signed up for this out of curiosity. Read that insurance covered it. Got the orders from my doctor (so sorry to waste your valuable time). Got a "yay" letter and a bill for 1500. With a quick retreat to 349 when I phoned. No thanks! I could be hit by a Mac truck before I die from cancer. I believe they are dishonest and misleading. Stay away.

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

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Very disrespectful for unsuspecting patients

    • Oct 12, 2015

    I went to my OBGYN to have blood drawn for genetic testing and was told that Counsyl would contact me via phone BEFORE they process the sample to discuss their vague pricing. I was told that the most I should expect to pay would be $349. Later I got an email saying that the test would cost $700 and that they would proceed with billing if I didn't contact them within 48 hours (good thing I checked my Email). I then contacted Counsyl within the 48 hour period and was told that the sample was already being processed and could not be canceled. They have shady pricing and communication which cost me $700. Thanks Counsyl.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Pricing policy changed recently

    • Sep 27, 2015

    My OB ordered this test without informing me. I received the invoice from Counsyl. The total cost for the test was $1500. My insurance did not cover it so the company billed me the contract price of $488. I called their billing department to request for a price adjustment as I learned other people only paid $99 if the insurance did not cover the test. The billing specialist told me that they recently changed the billing policy and no longer offer price adjustment. If you were offered this test by your health care provider, definitely check with your insurance company otherwise you may end up with a bill of $1500. The Counsyl test is not affordable as advertised and is most likely not covered by your insurance.

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

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Horrible company, scam!

    • Virginia Beach, VA,
    • Sep 25, 2015

    This company was recommended by the doctor and it end up costing $400. The disorders they test for did not have a relevance to our genetic history but the doctor stated that they should just run it and if insurance doesn't cover it you my decide not to get it. Well this company ran it without our approval and sent a bill to us. Even though we have not reviewed the results the company refused to work with us, despite the explanation of the situation and our money situation as well as being very difficult to get a hold of! I would NOT recommend this company. They act like they are interested in your well being but they only care about money.

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

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  • Definitly shady and a rip off

    • Sep 15, 2015

    They will sneak up $99 even after your insurance pays the money. These guys are definitely shady and it is a big scam. We got tricked into doing this test.

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

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  • 6 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Counsyl is a scam

    • Chicago, IL,
    • Jul 10, 2015

    My doctor ordered blood work when I learned I was pregnant. She never informed me that the office would then send the blood samples to Counsyl for analysis. A week after receiving news that my baby no longer had a heart beat and I needed a D&C (devastating), I received an "invoice" from Counsyl. Keep in mind I'd never heard of Counsyl, yet they claim I had a procedure done three days after my D&C. They never billed my insurance company, and instead tried to offer me a "great deal" of $99 for a service I never requested from I lab I had never heard of. This company is practicing shady business and should be investigated for insurance fraud. Advice to all, find out what lab your doctor uses to analyze "blood work" before giving over your veins.

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Rip off, run away!

    • Basking Ridge, NJ,
    • Apr 21, 2015

    There are so many hidden fees separate from the "$99" per person fee that you should really consider whether it's worth the money.

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

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