Genetic testing kits that predict illnesses individuals are likely to develop later in life are directly available to consumers, and while federal law keeps insurance companies from profiting off the kits’ results in some cases, there are still downsides to having that information potentially available to insurers.
Health insurers cannot use an individual’s DNA kit results to decide whether to sell an individual insurance or what to charge them because of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, a 2008 federal law, reported Kaiser Health News. However, the law does not prevent long-term care or life insurers from using genetic testing data to their advantages.
Individuals who bought DNA kits like the “Genetic Health Report” generated by 23andMe are required to disclose that to insurers in most cases, reported Kaiser Health News. These reports can test for conditions including Late-Onset Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, reported CNBC.
23andMe even provides Carrier Status Reports that show if an individual is likely to pass a health condition to his or her children. (RELATED: Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Gets Access To Info From 5 Million 23andMe Customers)
Health insurers cannot change an individual’s policy because of the results of a genetic testing kit. Some states have passed laws to give individuals additional protections, but most stick to federal law, according to Kaiser Health News.
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