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Genetic tests moratorium for UK insurance renewed again

Report of a story in the news   |   By Dr Philippa Brice   |   Published 11 April 2011

Source: ABI press release

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has announced another extension of an existing moratorium on the use of genetic test results for insurance purposes. 

First established in 2001, the agreement between the ABI with the UK Department of Health means that individuals are not obliged to disclose the results of predictive genetic tests to insurers. The Concordat and Moratorium on Genetics, last renewed in 2008 until 2014 (see previous news), has now been extended further to 2017; the next review will take place in 2014.The exceptions to this agreement remain unchanged: life insurance policies in excess of £500,000 (around 3% of all policies), and only for government approved genetic tests – there is only one of these, for Huntington’s Disease. 

Comment:

The UK’s approach to genetic testing and insurance appears to be functioning well, with insurers not apparently thirsting for genetic information about applicants in order to inform decision making. Of course, this relates to life insurance as opposed to health insurance, which is a key focus of the US Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA). The National Health Service in the UK means that health insurance is not an essential requirement for medical care.

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