Where Do Life Insurance Firms Stand on Using Genomic Information for Coverage Decisions?

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Where Do Life Insurance Firms Stand on Using Genomic Information for Coverage Decisions?

efin05Life insurance providers in the US may not be using genetic information to make underwriting decisions right now, but the lobbying efforts of a Maryland-based interest group to limit legal restrictions in this area suggest that the industry’s unofficial moratorium on the use of genetic information may eventually come to an end.  So reports the latest edition of Genomeweb.com’s Pharmacogenomics Reporter.

The passage of the Genetics Information Non-discrimination Act in 2008 appeared to have quelled fears of genetic discrimination in the US — at least regarding health insurance and the workplace. However, life insurance companies are exempt from GINA and most states do not restrict the use of genetic information in life insurance underwriting.

A Maryland-based interest group for life insurers is lobbying the state legislature not to pass laws restricting the use of genetic information — an effort that underscores the prevailing view of payors that genetic data is no different than other clinical factors in making underwriting decisions.

“We use these genetic test results in underwriting exactly as we use all medical information: with care and based on sound scientific basis or clinical or actuarial relevance,” the League of Life and Health Insurers of Maryland said in a statement to the Maryland Insurance Administration’s Genetic Testing Workgroup last September. “We know of no problem of misuse of genetic information or tests in the underwriting of life, disability income, or longterm-care insurance.”

Where do you stand on the issue of using genetic information for insurance underwriting purposes?

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