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The Florida Senate is now considering a bill — Senate Bill 258 — that would regulate how insurers use genetic information when writing and pricing an individual life insurance, disability insurance or long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy.

SB 258 would apply when an insurer is seeking to limit, cancel or deny access to individual life insurance, disability insurance or LTCI coverage based on information from DNA testing

The bill would prohibit an insurer from using genetic information in those situations, “unless such action is based on an objective statistical evidence related to an individual’s life expectancy or health.”

(Related: Share Your DNA, Get Shares)

The insurer must document the rationale for that type of action and provide documentation of its objective statistical evidence to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation upon request, according to the bill text.

Members of the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved the bill by a 5-3 vote in March, and members of the Senate Health Policy Committee approved an amended version by a 9-0 vote earlier this month.

The Florida Legislature’s regular session ends May 3.

GINA

The federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 already prohibits health insurers from using genetic information in underwriting. The law does not apply to life insurers.

Patient advocates say patients should have the right to keep the results from genetic tests private.

Insurers contend that it may be difficult to set rates for medically underwritten products and write profitable coverage if many applicants have important, hidden information about their probable future health status.

Test Takers Want Insurance

Swiss Re recently conducted a survey on consumer attitudes toward genetic testing.

The 31,000 participants were in Australia, Canada, China and the United Kingdom as well as in the United States.

Swiss Re found that:

  • People who had their DNA tested were more likely to buy life insurance.
  • Taking a DNA test correlated with purchasing life insurance and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
  • Many survey participants said they would share their genetic information under certain conditions.

About 80% of the survey respondents said they would share genetic information in exchange for a premium reduction, or access to weight management programs, according to Swiss Re.

Resources

The Florida Senate tracking page for CS/SB 258 is available here.

— Read Some Consumers Would Still Let Life Insurers Track Them With Smartphoneson ThinkAdvisor.

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