Genetic testing has increased in popularity as the space continues to expand and progress, but for those concerned about their long-term plans for the family’s financial safety have long been wary of getting testing done. Life insurance companies could request the results of genetic testing, causing higher premiums and ultimately, unaffordable life insurance policies. Laws have been passed to protect the future insureds. Life insurance companies can no longer discriminate against people who have genetic testing done. What does this next advancement in protecting those who participate in genetic testing mean?
What are the Stipulations of Disclosure to Life Insurance Companies?
In the past life insurance companies made inquisitive insureds disclose all of their genetic testing results. With the new laws that passed, if a policy is under $500,000 potential customers don’t have to disclose any information about their genetic testing. Now, the laws don’t stop people who have had favorable genetic testing results from disclosing their low to no risk results with life insurance companies allowing some people to use results in their favor. These laws are to help others who want a deeper look at their genetics to be afforded the same coverages without discrimination.
There are a multitude of new laws that protect patient privacy when it comes to genetic testing, but laws regarding insurance companies are newer. Most health insurances are including or advocating for their customers to participate in genetic testing. There are many perks that come with genetic testing that give consumers helpful insights into their genetic make-up and the possible health of their families.
How Genetic Testing is Helping People Acquire Life Insurance
While genetic testing is used for those with negative, or at-risk traits, it also identifies the possible positive genetic traits. Those who have a clean bill of health and low risk can increase their choices of policies, and potentially have better coverage than those who aren’t in the best of health. While those who are struggling with their health have long gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to life insurance.
Now people who have done genetic testing to help uncover and identify risks to their health do not have to disclose any further information, than necessary, about their possible health risks. In the past genetic risks could be the difference between affordable life insurance, or life insurance at all. The new laws that have been passed offer the best of both worlds to anyone who wants to utilize genetic testing. These laws aide both those who have had reassuring results with genetic testing and those who now have to mitigate possible health risks to the best of their ability.
Can Other Insurance Companies Still Discriminate Against Those Who Have Had Genetic Testing Done?
There is still an unfounded fear amongst the general public about the adverse effects of genetic testing on insurance policies and employment searches. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) passed in 2008 that keeps tester information private. GINA protects testers against discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and any other risks discovered by genetic testing. This act has helped more people branch out and participate in testing to gain a better level of understanding about their health and the possible health risks or attributes, that they’ve based on to their children.
Genetic testing is a powerful tool that was frequently only utilized to trace genealogy due to the fear of discrimination. People are now empowered to use genetic testing for health purposes through the new laws and acts that have passed to keep them safe. There are bountiful benefits from undergoing genetic testing with the help of a physician and genetic counselor that can walk patients through the process, and help them to understand their results. Pharmacists and prescribing doctors can now become certified in pharmacogenetics to better treat their patients with the proper medications and dosages that best suite them based on their genetic make-up. Genetic testing is a rapidly expanding field that is crucial to understanding individual health.