Can Genetic Testing Prevent You From Getting Life Insurance?

How Genetic Testing Affects Your Chances of Getting Life Insurance

Do you know that taking a genetic test in your 20s or 30s could hurt your chances of getting life insurance? At the very least, it can raise the price you pay. And what if you already have a plan. Can the insurer drop you after finding out about your genetic test results? These are questions that have been on the minds of thousands of consumers, and we’re here to answer them.

Genetic Testing and Underwriting

To answer the first question posed, yes, a genetic test can affect your chances. Life insurers can use your test results during the underwriting process, where they decide to offer you coverage. While the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act does prohibit insurers from using your genetic information to deny you or charge you more for health insurance, the same does not apply to long-term-care policies, life insurance, or disability insurance.

As previously mentioned, there is an underwriting process that every applicant must undergo when buying a life insurance policy. During this process, insurers can review your medical records. In addition, they can ask you questions about your personal health history and your family’s medical history. All of this determines whether you qualify for the policy. If you do qualify, the underwriting process determines how much the insurer will charge you.

One of the questions that the insurer will ask you during underwriting is if you’re undergone genetic testing. Even if the test was performed through a direct-to-consumer site like 23andMe, you should disclose it. Catherine Theroux, a spokeswoman for LIMRA, an insurance industry trade group, says that you should release all medically relevant information.

While most states follow federal law, there are some states out there that provide more privacy protection with regards to genetic testing and types of insurance that require underwriting.

Genetic Tests and Existing Coverage

In regards to the latter question (Can the insurer drop you after finding out about your genetic testing results?), no, insurers cannot drop you. “Once the policy has been underwritten and issued, the insurer doesn’t revoke the policy if new medical information comes to light,” says Theroux .

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