While these tests are becoming highly popular, consumers should understand how the data is used.
Purchasing a DNA testing kit to find out more about what genes say about an individual is becoming very popular. However, concerns are growing with regards to how the data will be treated and used, particularly by certain parts of the insurance industry.
There are a number of different companies selling these kits, from large to small ones.
Some of the DNA testing kit packages simply tell a person about where their ancestors lived in the world. However others provide insight into certain genetic health risks. As interesting and useful as that may be for an individual, it may one day become problematic when purchasing coverage such as a life insurance policy.
A recent CNBC report identified 4 important risks a consumer should know before using submitting a DNA kit for a report. It considered the type of struggle results from kits like 23andMe might cause.
DNA testing kit providers now give insights such as the “Genetic Health Report” from 23andMe.
Such reports make it possible for individuals to assess their potential health risks with nothing more than a few cheek cells. They submit their genetic data in order to find out if they have the genes for certain hereditary illnesses.
The 23andMe health reports are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 10 different diseases. Among them, the report can tell a customer about the potential risk for Parkinson’s Disease or Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Another option is the “Carrier Status” report, which tells a customer whether or not her or she has a certain specific genetic variant for an illness. While that doesn’t mean that he or she actually has the condition, it indicates a potential risk of passing it on to biological children.
According to the CNBC report, over 80 percent of 23andMe customers provide the Google-backed company with permission to share their DNA data with research partners.
Many are concerned that this type of data could also place customers at risk of higher premiums or denial of coverage for life insurance. Although this practice has not yet occurred, the growing popularity of DNA test kit results may lead to consumer problems in the future. The concern has grown to the point that even Moody’s Investor Service has issued a warning within one of its recent reports that this type of testing may lead to a negative credit rating for life insurance companies.