Is Genetic Testing Making Waves in the Industry?

Nov 30, 2018

Over the holiday weekend, our team found an at-home DNA kit was selling for only $80 on a popular online shopping site. For less than $100, a person could find out their ancestral origins and see any underlying health conditions their genes may hold. It should come as no surprise then that at-home DNA kits topped the Global Consumer Trends this year. But what implications come with this influx of genetic data available at our fingertips?


Ten years ago, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was introduced and passed into law. It banned employers and health insurance companies from discriminating against applicants based on their voluntary participation in genetic testing. This act was a big step in regulating misuse of genetic information. However, this law does not regulate life insurance companies. So, where does that leave your prospects who have done genetic tests?


Life Insurance companies may opt into using the data in these genetic tests to evaluate medical risk when they are reviewing an individual for coverage. If pre-existing conditions or genetic risks show up, it could lead to more expensive payments for your client. For example, if a genetic test comes back showing that an individual carries the BRCA1 gene (linked to a potential for developing Parkinson’s disease), they could be declined or given a higher premium.


As of right now, genetic tests are low on the list of factors in underwriting. Genetic screening is not required on applications and a small fraction of companies offer it as an option. Your clients can still ride the trend of doing at-home DNA test without worrying how it will affect their premium payment. Companies still take a much larger interest in an applicant’s medical history and family medical history. With that in mind, now would be a good time to brush up on our Underwriting Guide that will break down what each carrier looks for in their underwriting process.


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