Thoughts: Genetic Testing and Insurance Coverage

genetictestingThe potential impacts of genetic testing and health insurance are worrisome. With the popularity of genetic testing, like 23andMe which can be done at home, it is now quite easy for the general population to find out about potential health risks and disease markers. It’s also quite common for type 1 parents to have their children tested for type 1 antibodies.

Knowledge is power, but what about the mental toll of an unexpected discovery?

In the United States particularly, it could be detrimental if insurance companies are ever allowed access to this information. They could then base health insurance coverage and premiums on data obtained from such tests. There’s also life insurance to consider as many type 1’s are already denied life insurance simply because of their autoimmune disease.

But what about other countries that aren’t so greedy? Estonia, for example, is offering a program for residents to have their DNA tested and in return are given “lifestyle advice based on results”. As discussed in the article, this could create unnecessary worry for people, but at the same time, offer an incredible opportunity to stop certain diseases before they can occur.

Could this be the future of health insurance?

I find it highly unlikely that the United States would ever offer such a program as in Estonia. The for-profit industry simply wouldn’t allow it. Therefore, I only see a negative and dark side. However, in Europe, this could be an incredible program.

What are your thoughts on genetic testing and the various potential impacts?



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