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Hereditary Cancer Info > Privacy & Legal Issues > Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

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Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

There are laws that protect the rights of people with an inherited mutation or hereditary cancer.

GINA and health insurance

Group and individual health insurers, including Medicare supplemental policies, may not use genetic information to set eligibility, premium or contribution amounts. Under GINA, genetic information cannot be considered a preexisting condition. Health insurers may not request or require that you take a genetic test.

With regard to health insurance discrimination, the Act:

  • prohibits enrollment restriction and premium adjustment on the basis of genetic information;
  • prevents health plans and insurers from requesting or requiring that an individual take a genetic test;
  • prevents health plans and insurers from pursuing or being provided information on predictive genetic information or genetic services prior to enrollment – the time when this information is most likely to be used in making enrollment decisions;
  • covers all health insurance programs, including those regulated by the federal government under ERISA, state-regulated plans, Medigap, and the individual market.

 GINA does not apply to life, disability, or longterm care insurance. 

Anyone who feels that they have been subjected to discrimination by a health insurance company based on genetic information can contact their state insurance commissioner’s office. Some states also regulate life, long-term care, and disability insurer use of genetic information and allow complaints to be filed with the insurance commissioner against these insurers as well.

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