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Am J Hum Genet. Oct 1992; 51(4): 785–792.
PMCID: PMC1682778

A survey of state insurance commissioners concerning genetic testing and life insurance.


Rapid advances in genetic testing have stimulated growing concern about the potential for misuse of genetic data by insurance companies, employers, and other third parties. Thus far, reports of genetically based discrimination in life insurance have been anecdotal. Reasoning that state insurance commissioners were likely to be aware of (1) the extent of current use of and interest in genetic tests by life insurers and (2) consumer complaints about insurance being denied because of genetic condition or because of genetic test results, we conducted a survey of that group. We received responses from 42 of the 51 jurisdictions. Our results suggest (1) that those who regulate the life insurance industry do not yet perceive genetic testing to pose a significant problem in how insurers rate applicants, (2) that life insurers have much legal latitude to require genetic tests, and (3) that so far few consumers have formally complained to commissioners about the use of genetic data by life insurers.

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Selected References

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  • Billings PR, Kohn MA, de Cuevas M, Beckwith J, Alper JS, Natowicz MR. Discrimination as a consequence of genetic testing. Am J Hum Genet. 1992 Mar;50(3):476–482. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McEwen JE, Reilly PR. State legislative efforts to regulate use and potential misuse of genetic information. Am J Hum Genet. 1992 Sep;51(3):637–647. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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