Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Buying insurance for bad genes

The NY Times reports:
Under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Privacy Act, companies cannot ask employees to take gene tests and cannot use any such results in employment decisions; insurers are not permitted to require gene tests or to use the results in coverage decisions. ...

The 23andMe test results will not appear in people’s medical records, and the company promises not to disclose identifiable findings to third parties. It is up to the customers to reveal them — and the fear for insurers is that many will not. ...

Yet even if just a minority of 23andMe customers decided to game the current insurance system, “it’s enough to perturb the market,” ...

But he also found that those who learned they had the gene variant — Ms. Reilly was one of them — were nearly six times more likely to buy long-term care insurance than those who did not. The ApoE4 gene variant is present in about a quarter of the population.
Insurance depends on companies being able to assess the risk. If insurance companies have to ignore genetic risks and pre-existing conditions, then healthy ppl will have to pay more for policies, because the insurance companies have to deal with those as if they are gaming the system.

Insurance would be more efficient if the companies could use genetic and other risk info.

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