Anya Prince on Our Current Vulnerability to Genetic Discrimination

Some Americans still resist genetic testing for fear they will be discriminated against by insurance companies. Why?

in 2008, Congress passed GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, to protect us from insurance companies choosing to include us or not for policies based on the genes we came with. Then in 2010, Congress passed the ACA, or Affordable Care Act, and with it protection against preexisting conditions. This includes genetic predispositions.

With both pieces of legislations Americans received pretty good protection against genetic discrimination. However, both apply only to health insurance. There is no protection for life, disability, or any other kind of insurance. If you have a gene which will greatly increase your chances of getting early onset Alzheimer’s, for example, can a life insurer use that data to discriminate against you today?

Or, what will happen for all Americans if the current lawsuit, Texas vs the ACA, is successful? A lot has happened in genetics since the ACA was passed. Will many of the genetic conditions we have been testing for since then become problematic for folks with their insurance if the pre-existing protection goes away?

And what do other countries around the world do to protect their citizens in the current age of genomics?

Here to help answer these questions and sift through the protections and vulnerability we have under current genetic law is Anya Prince, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Iowa.