We’ve all seen those genetic testing kits advertised recently. A service that was once incredibly expensive now comes giftwrapped at a rate that’s virtually accessible for everyone! Most tell the details of your ancestry, but also offer you the option of medical testing. Unfortunately, getting these results can affect your future insurability—and you might not even be aware of it
How is that possible?
Well, once you decide to have the test performed, the details become part of your medical history. So, genetic markers that have been linked to future diagnoses of cancer, neurological disorders, etc. can be taken into consideration for insurance purposes. Even though it’s not an official diagnosis, and even though the test could be inconclusive, it’s still a factor. So, while most insurance carriers can’t require you to have genetic testing as a part of the underwriting process, if you do so on your own, they can access this information.
Is this true for all insurance types?
Actually, no. There was a law passed in 2008 called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). This prevents health insurance companies from denying policies to individuals with certain genetic mutations, at the federal level. However, it only specifically applies to medical insurance. Not life insurance, not disability insurance, and not long-term care coverage. Meaning, they’re allowed to ask about your family history or past genetic testing and use your answers to determine your insurability.
Will the laws change any time soon?
Although we can’t say for certain, it looks highly unlikely at this point. Because all of these types of coverage are optional, insurance companies are naturally concerned that the people purchasing them may have a reason for doing so—above the ordinary. Unfortunately, statistics back up this belief. Research has shown that individuals who found out they had a specific marker linked to Alzheimer’s Disease were 5 times more likely to purchase long-term care insurance. You can read more about this study here. So, until more people are generally inclined to look at life, disability, and long-term care insurance, there will be an unsustainable imbalance.
So, should I look into genetic testing?
Ultimately, this is a personal decision. If you want to learn more about your ancestry or gene markers, then you should explore your options. With advance knowledge, you can potentially take precautionary steps to avoid health pitfalls in the future. Or, there may be nothing for you to worry about. Either way, call us to learn more about these different types of insurance ahead of time. After all, it’s just another form of preparing for the future, and Freedom Insurance is here to help you down whatever path you choose.