‘Nobody’s business’? 5 Things to Know About Genetic Testing Bill  


‘Nobody’s business’? 5 Things to Know About Genetic Testing Bill – NBC News


Despite the country’s focus on the American Health Care Act, a smaller bill is also working its way through Congress — one that could overturn years of legislative protections for patients.

This bill would potentially pressure patients to submit to genetic testing as part of worker wellness programs, with the goal of better assessing someone’s health risk profile. If a person doesn’t agree to the tests — employers or health insurance companies could jack up their health insurance costs.

If the new bill passes, here’s what you need to know:

You could pay more or be denied coverage

The 2010 Affordable Care Act gave employers the option to entice workers with financial incentives to engage in voluntary health screening and wellness programs. In exchange for participating in programs — such as weight loss or smoking cessation classes, regular cholesterol screenings, or providing answers to detailed health questionnaires — employees could see their premiums be reduced by 30 percent to 50 percent.

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However, a prior 2008 law, the Genetic Information Non Discrimination Act or “GINA”, which was signed by President George W. Bush, prohibited health insurers and employers from forcing people to submit to genetic testing or to use the tests to discriminate. Notably, it prevented employers from using the information to make employment decisions. Insurers could not use genetic tests to deny coverage or charge higher premiums.


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