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Discrimination in Insurance: Experience in the United States

  1. Mark A Hall

Published Online: 15 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005208.pub2

eLS

eLS

How to Cite

Hall, M. A. 2009. Discrimination in Insurance: Experience in the United States. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2009

Abstract

Health and life insurers may wish to discriminate based on genetic information by classifying people as high risk or unhealthy based on genetic tests that predict future health problems, rather than on diagnosis of current illness. In the USA, the fear of genetic discrimination by insurers is much greater than the reality, especially for health insurance. The economics of health insurance makes it unlikely that health insurers will want to consider purely predictive genetic information, and there are ample legal threats to keep this possibility from materializing, including the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Empirical studies consistently document the virtual absence of any genetic discrimination by health insurers. Life insurers are more likely to consider results from predictive genetic tests, but this practice currently is not widespread.

Keywords:

  • genetic discrimination;
  • health insurance;
  • life insurance