Is genetic information relevantly different from other kinds of non-genetic information in the life insurance context?
Journal of Medical Ethics 2008 July; 34(7): 548-551
Within the medical, legal and bioethical literature, there has been an increasing concern that the information derived from genetic tests may be used to unfairly discriminate against individuals seeking various kinds of insurance; particularly health and life insurance. Consumer groups, the general public and those with genetic conditions have also expressed these concerns, specifically in the context of life insurance. While it is true that all insurance companies may have an interest in the information obtained from genetic tests, life insurers potentially have a very strong incentive to (want to) use genetic information to rate applicants, as individuals generally purchase their own cover and may want to take out very large policies. This paper critically focuses on genetic information in the context of life insurance. We consider whether genetic information differs in any relevant way from other kinds of non-genetic information required by and disclosed to life insurance companies by potential clients. We will argue that genetic information should not be treated any differently from other types of health information already collected from those wishing to purchase life insurance cover.
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An act establishing standards for the collection, use, and disclosure of genetic information in issuing insurance; prohibiting insurers from requiring genetic testing except as otherwise required by law; prohibiting discrimination on the basis of genetic traits by insurers, health service corporations, health maintenance organizations, fraternal benefit societies, and other issuers of individual or group policies or certificates of insurance; prohibiting the solicitation of genetic information for nontherapeutic purposes; and amending sections 2-18-812 and 33-31-111, MCA Montana. Laws, statutes, etc. (1999-04-19)