Ancestry, Genetic Testing, and Life Insurance

Genetic testing has mushroomed over the past few years as the cost to have such a test has come down dramatically. For less than $100 you can find out where you come from, who you’re related to, and what your chances are of getting different diseases. One question most people aren’t asking is how will this impact your ability to get life insurance?

Genetic testing can tell you a lot. Where you came from, who you’re related to, your percentage of Neanderthal origins, as well as, whether you’re truly Irish or Italian! Some tests can even provide you with information regarding your health and wellness such as the best exercise plan, supplements, and foods for your genetic make-up. Some will even tell you if you’re predisposed for different diseases or cancers. Knowing this can arm you to put together a plan with your physician but it can also cause you to be denied life insurance for a potential future disease you don’t have yet or may never get.

Anything in your medical file can be requested and reviewed by a life insurance company when applying for a policy. If you’ve shared the results of your genetic test with your primary care physician, life insurance companies can use that information to either extend or deny coverage. The results of your genetic test can not be used to deny you health coverage due to the passage in 2008 of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or GINA. It does not contain such a provision for life insurance.

I also believe it’s important to have answers to who will have access to this data and for what purposes? Who owns your genetic results? How could your genetic results be used, and do you have any say in that? Knowing the answers to these questions is as important as what the results of a genetic test can tell you.

Should you get a genetic test is up to you, but I’d advise getting life insurance before you have the testing done. Otherwise, you may find yourself without coverage to pay for final expenses or live something to your heirs. What do you think? Share your thoughts, experiences, and questions with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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