Saturday, 23 March 2019

Could a DNA test kit hurt your chances of getting life insurance?

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Those DNA at-home testing kits that have become so popular can reveal a lot of interesting information about your ancestry and health, but there’s a new warning that they could hurt your chances of getting a good life insurance rate or even getting coverage at all.

The small sample of spit could reveal your genetic disposition to certain illnesses and that makes it valuable information for life insurance companies.

More than 12 million people have already had their DNA analyzed with at home kits like 23&Me and Ancestry DNA.

Bob Forth in Spartanburg says he may be the next.

“I’ve seen the things on television of late and it’s less expensive and I’d like to get it done,”  he said.

But insurance experts, when you apply for life insurance coverage those companies may ask to see your DNA testing results and could use that to determine your rate.

“If you come back and you’ve had this DNA testing and they want to look at those results and you say I don’t want you to do that, they have the right to decline you or turn you down based on that information.”

Jeffrey Horton does point out you can always shop around for another company that doesn’t check DNA but even those can see you’ve been declined which won’t help your case.

“I don’t think people realize it and for that reason I wouldn’t do the genetic testing,” said Donna Sterling in Spartanburg.

“Well, I definitely think that’s a disadvantage and that’s going to steer people to not do those if that’s what’s happening,” said Lori Walker in Spartanburg.     

Forth is still planning on doing the testing. He says his rate can’t get any worse since he’s got diabetes.  But he doesn’t think it’s right.

“I don’t think it’s necessary for them to get it at all. It’s unfair, very unfair,” he said.

Besides not doing the tests altogether you can protect yourself if you follow these steps:

– For one, opt only to get the ancestry information, not health.
– Second, request the company destroy your sample.  They will do that as long as you have not given them permission to use your data for research purposes.

We should also note, health insurance is governed by different laws than life insurance.  Federal law currently does protect against genetic discrimination, so right now, health insurers cannot hold your genes against you. 


« »