For those of us who have had health insurance for a while, the likelihood of being denied for a claim is pretty high. But what if getting a genetic test could be used against you so that you weren't able to get insured in the future?
Currently there is a federal law that is supposed to protect people from having their own genetic results used against them and it's called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA. This law makes it illegal for an employer to fire someone based on their genes and illegal for health insurers to raise rates or deny coverage because of a person's genetics. But there is a loophole in regards to health insurance and those companies that sell this service. This includes companies that sell life insurance, disability insurance or long-term care insurance.
While no law is 100 percent perfect this law is proving to have a significant flaw. For example, people who may have a history of Alzheimer's are getting tested for the gene. If they find that they have the gene, they are more likely to purchase long-term care insurance to protect them in the future. But making this decision sometimes alerts an insurance company and they are requiring the results of the genetic test. In some instances, the insurance company could legally require a person to take a genetic test before allowing them to purchase a policy.
There are lawmakers trying to fight this loophole and feel that because a DNA test was taken, it shouldn't make a person uninsurable. This would mean that a lot of people would be considered uninsurable.
This is sure to be a debate between the insurance companies and lawmakers. Insurance companies want to protect themselves, but people do have the right to protect themselves and their future if they find out that they may develop a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer's.
Source: Health News Florida, "Some Types Of Insurance Can Discriminate Based On Genes," Jan. 18, 2013