The next time you’re wondering where your great great grandparents lived, you may want to ask the oldest family member, rather than submit your DNA to testing from an at-home genetic test.
Direct to consumer genetic tests have become very popular – you can even get a kit for your dog. But while the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits health insurance companies from asking for or using genetic information about whether or not to sell you health insurance, those rules do not apply to long-term healthcare, life or disability insurance.
If you apply for disability or long-term healthcare and are asked whether or not you have undergone genetic testing, you have to disclose it, even if the test was done through a direct-to-consumer site and not your doctor’s office.
According to an article appearing in Kaiser Health News, “How Genetic Tests Muddy Your Odds of Getting a Long-Term-Care Policy,” you are obliged to release any medically related information.
Some states provide consumer protections when it comes to buying insurance and genetic testing, but others do not and rely solely on the GINA law.
If you already have a policy and you have the testing done, even if results come back indicating a health problem, the insurance company can’t revoke the policy.
But when you have the testing done and if the insurance company gains access to the information, it may have unforeseen consequences in the future.
From our perspective as long-term disability insurance attorneys, the unprotected nature of the direct-to-consumer genetic tests creates a variety of challenges.
We began warning clients and the general public many years ago about the problems that social media could create for claimants, and the same is true for the genetic tests. Similarly, we do not think it is wise for people to have information about their genetic makeup available.
Most people don’t know that they are taking this risk when they have their genetics mapped, but if you are considering a disability claim in the future, you should be aware of the potential problems this may pose.