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Australians opt out of genetic tests because of cost impact on insurance products

Despite a partial moratorium on sharing of information between geneticists and life insurance companies in Australia, concerns about genetic discrimination persist and continue to keep people away from genetic testing. The vast majority of consumers believe that life insurers should not be allowed to use genetic results in insurance and that federal legislation is required to regulate this area, writes the Nature magazine.
Australians opt out of genetic tests because of cost impact on insurance products

Genetic tests can be useful in assessing the risk of various diseases, such as hereditary forms of cancer, heart disease, and certain developmental disorders. However, the use of genetic tests in the context of life insurance raises concerns of confidentiality and rights of access to insurance services.

In some countries, insurance companies may request information about genetic tests from applicants for insurance services. Insurers may use this information to determine potential clients’ risk of disease and charge higher or refuse in insurance coverage at all. This can lead to discrimination of people with a positive genetic test from insurance companies.

The US Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits insurance companies from using genetic information to determine insurance rates or deny coverage. However, in some cases the law does not apply, such as for insurance companies that offer life insurance for over $50,000. Australia has similar restrictions. However, they are not that strict, and sometimes they are advisory rather than mandatory.

In general, the use of genetic tests in the context of life insurance raises concerns about privacy and rights of access to insurance services.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41431-023-01373-1

Photos are from open sources.

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