Genetic testing and insurance

Genetic testing and knowledge of predisposition does not impact on your ability to get health insurance coverage in Australia. However, it might impact on getting life and disability insurance or in renewing sickness and accident insurance. In a paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers noted that when those offered tests for genetic predisposition to bowel cancer were told of the potential insurance implications, the number taking up those tests dropped significantly (perhaps as high as 50 percent reduction). This has implications for the incentive to utilise such tests and then to have preventative treatment. Here is a video explanation.

Personally, I think that the sample size is small (although the results are significant) and this wasn’t a randomised trial so something might have changed. Also, since it is getting new policies that are relevant it would be interesting to ask patients if they had policies or not as a critical control. After all, if I was told of this, I’d get a policy and then get the test — that is, for the policies I wanted where it was not alterable on renewal.