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Why OraSure Technologies, Inc. Shares Jumped

By Sean Williams – Mar 5, 2014 at 12:06PM

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OraSure shares surge following an intriguing proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Here's what you need to know.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of OraSure Technologies (OSUR 0.52%), a marketer of oral-fluid diagnostic tests and specimen collection kits, surged by as much as 15% after a proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced yesterday suggested that Medicare and Medicaid be allowed to cover hepatitis-C tests in select patients.

So what: The CMS is suggesting that Medicare and Medicaid cover the costs for an HCV screening for high-risk individuals, which includes, according to the CMS' memo, persons born between 1945 and 1965, persons with a history of blood transfusion prior to 1992, and persons who have used illicit injectable drugs. Since OraSure develops a rapid diagnostic test for HCV, its shares have taken off in accordance with that proposal.

Now what: I see personalized medicine via diagnostics being a huge growth opportunity during the next decade, and OraSure is certainly sitting in the sweet spot following yesterday's proposal from the CMS. It remains to be seen, of course, if it gets adopted. However, if it does, it could quickly add to OraSure's top- and bottom-line figures, and should get baby boomers in to see their doctors. Patients are very fickle when it comes to out-of-pocket payments, so covering a vast majority, or all, of the cost of an HCV test could certainly put some pep in OraSure's figures. This is a development worth keeping your eyes on!

Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

The Motley Fool has no position in any companies mentioned in this article. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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