Millions of Americans are using services to examine their genetic backgrounds.
Over 26 million people across the United States have used voluntary services to obtain DNA test results. Now, lawmakers are moving to protect those same consumers against a federal legal loophole.
The legal loophole would permit certain insurance companies to connect customer genetic data.
Florida lawmakers have already launched the first step to shut that loophole. The goal is to protect consumers from being required to provide their DNA test results if they do not want to.
Using genetic testing kits and their related services is becoming increasingly popular. Hundreds of products are available for purchase and are seeing steady sales across the state and the country.
A Florida legislative committee conducted an analysis. Its results showed that almost 6 percent of Americans have already tested themselves. There is a federal law in place that would block the majority of insurance companies from obtaining the results of those tests. However, there is a gap in the wording of that law which would open the information to certain specific insurers.
The loophole makes it possible for disability, long term care and life insurers to access DNA test results.
“There is a massive loophole for life, disability and long term care,” explained Representative Chris Sprowls about the federal law. Sprowls has spearheaded the movement to stop insurance companies from requesting or requiring the results of genetic testing or from using those results against consumers.
“They’re gonna take genetic information that can be weaponized by an insurance company who’s gonna take it to set rates or exclude somebody from coverage,” he added.
On the other side of the coin, the insurance industry is combatting the Florida bill. They have nine powerful lobbyists in place to fight the bill. Their goal is to halt it from what will now be the second consecutive year.
Insurance companies are concerned that someone who wouldn’t otherwise purchase coverage might discover a risk
through their DNA test results, then buy a policy to protect themselves. Insurers feel this could increase their losses and as a consequence, their rates.