Monday, 9 June 2014

Do you have the copyright on your own DNA? Insurers would like to see your genetic report. Welcome to a world without privacy.

This is a little scary but it's coming. Can you refuse to let the life insurance company see your DNA?  You let them take a drop of blood to check for a few things including drugs but suppose they spend a few bucks to do your whole genome?  Lawmakers are putting up little barriers but your DNA will be like a piece of gossip that someone will divulge somewhere sometime in your life.  It's under $1000 already and three quarters of a million Americans have had at least partial sequencing.

I talked to a GP back from a Hawaiian medical conference and this was one of the issues discussed there.  There are some costly health problems that can be guessed at before your baby is born and that little kid may never ever be eligible for health insurance.

From an NYT story:  Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, asks potential customers in Massachusetts about genetic testing — and stipulates that refusing to share results could lead to a declined application or an extra premium. Jean Towell, a spokeswoman, says applicants are told “out of fairness” that insurers have the right to decline coverage if any medical information is omitted. .... 12 other companies ask no explicit questions about genetic testing. But when Dr. Green asked company executives why not, he said, “at least one of them has told me, ‘We would do this, but we don’t want to be the first.' ”

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