Passed in 2008, a federal law called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) made it illegal for health insurance providers in the United States to use genetic information in decisions about a person's health insurance eligibility or coverage. This means that health insurance companies cannot use the results of a direct-to-consumer genetic test (or any other genetic test) to deny coverage or require you to pay higher premiums. However, GINA does not apply when an employer has fewer than 15 employees.
GINA does not apply to other forms of insurance, such as disability insurance, long-term care insurance, or life insurance. However, some states have laws that cover these forms of insurance. Unless prohibited by state laws, companies that offer these policies have the right to request medical information, including the results of any genetic testing, when making decisions about coverage and rates. Some of these companies request information about genetic testing as part of their application process, but others do not. It is unclear whether genetic information, including the results of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, will become a standard part of the risk assessment that insurance companies undertake when making coverage decisions.
You should weigh the possible benefits and risks of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, including potential impacts on insurance eligibility and coverage, before you start the testing process.
Topics in the Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing chapter
- What is direct-to-consumer genetic testing?
- What kinds of direct-to-consumer genetic tests are available?
- What is genetic ancestry testing?
- What are the benefits and risks of direct-to-consumer genetic testing?
- How do I choose a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company?
- How is direct-to-consumer genetic testing done?
- How much does direct-to-consumer genetic testing cost, and is it covered by health insurance?
- What do the results of direct-to-consumer genetic testing mean?
- What can raw data from a direct-to-consumer genetic test tell me?
- Can a direct-to-consumer genetic test tell me whether I will develop cancer?
- Can a direct-to-consumer genetic test tell me whether I will develop Alzheimer disease?
- What does it mean to have Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA?
- How do direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies protect their customers’ privacy?
- Can the results of direct-to-consumer genetic testing affect my ability to get insurance?
- Where can I read more about the diseases and traits covered in my direct-to-consumer genetic testing report?
The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.